getAbstract Blog

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In October, Christopher Surdak was awarded with getAbstract’s International Book Award for his outstanding Data Crush. The Information Technology veteran has over 20 years of strategy and information management experience and currently works with Hewlett-Packard, for whom he is their global subject matter expert for analytics, E-discovery and information governance.

Big Data is a current “buzz” phrase in business, referencing the unlimited data we now have access to, thanks in large part, to the Internet and social media, which has made it effortless to capture and analyze information.

We recently caught up with Chris to learn a little more about him and, of course, his views on big data.

gA: Hi Chris. Can you tell us a little about your background and what got you interested in data.

CS: I’ve seen the technology evolve over 20 something years. Not just the technology part but how it impacts society and our behavior. Seeing how this was developing about eight or nine years ago, the engineer in me saw something is changing. Something’s different this time, the Smartphones and social media. So I got very interested in where that was going to go I started to see the legal implications and regulatory implications too.

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Public Relations noun plural but usually singular in construction, often attributive.

  • The activity or job of providing information about a particular person or organization to the public, so that people will regard that person or organization in a favorable way
  • The relationship between an organization and the public
  • The business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution
  • The degree of understanding and goodwill achieved

First known use of Public Relations: 1807

As the profession’s or practice’s own name suggests, PR is about relating to the public. In and of itself, PR is therefore social it is relating a story from one person to another and relies on what is now known as virality (thanks, Jonah Berger!). These 2014 buzzwords may have the ring of modernity to so many of us, but to PR professionals the concepts have always been at their very core, even if they didn’t have the vocabulary to name them.

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While the notion of curiosity has been around since man first discovered fire (or perhaps, since Eve bit the apple), I have been seeing more and more articles focused around this concept and how important it is to have a curious workforce, led by even more curious leaders. While the talents and skills organizations look for change frequently over time, curiosity reigns supreme since it is a staple quality.

Why is a culture of curiosity important for an organization?

  • It guarantees sufficient information to do all the other things, such as acting decisively, promoting innovation, and knowing how to renew and reinvent stale products and services
  • It implies constantly asking questions… Why? What’s behind that? What’s new? What are competitors doing? What else is out there? What other possibilities exist?
  • It is the impulse guiding great strategic thinkers. They want to know what’s around the next corner. They imagine and test scenarios. They are ready to incorporate new information and make changes. It also produces the exploration that allows for constant improvements and breakthrough innovations.

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TED, founded in 1984 as a one-off event, in Monterey, California, has grown into a global set of conferences sharing “Ideas Worth Spreading” in the technology, entertainment and design industries (hence, TED). The no-longer-than 18-minute talks are live-streamed over the Internet, for optimal “spread,” and are meant to be both innovative and engaging. Few disappoint. And, especially in recent years, TED Talks have gone on to achieve notoriety for their medium and their messaging; not to mention, the messengers, who have included notorious voices of the 21st-century zeitgeist, such as Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Bill Gates, Bono, Larry Page and Sergey Brin… Just to name a few.

Recently, PR Newswire released their list of the six best TED Talks for communicators and PR professionals, which we felt was well-worth sharing with you.

1. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, Amy Cuddy

Who: Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, is a researcher and professor at Harvard Business School. She’s known for her work on stereotyping and discrimination, emotions, power, nonverbal behavior, and the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels.

What: Cuddy explains how our body language influences other people’s perceptions of us, how our mind affects our hormones, and how “power posing” can help you “fake it ‘til you make it.”

Why: Her TED Talk, originally delivered at TED Global 2012 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and posted in October 2012, has been viewed more than 19 million times and ranks among the top 2 most-viewed TED Talks.

2. The Clues to a Great Story, Andrew Stanton

Who: The Pixar alum is a film director, screenwriter, producer and voice actor who has worked on favorite family movies, including A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, WALL-E, Toy Story (1, 2 and 3), and Monsters, Inc. (In other word’s, his name being listed, had us at “hello.”)

What: Starting at the end, and working back to the beginning, Stanton—one of our generation’s greatest storytellers—shares his top tips for spinning a great yarn, with terrific takeaways, like the “unifying theory of 2+2,” invoking wonder is a story’s “secret sauce,” and “use what you know then draw from it.”

Why: See “Who” (above). Need we say more?

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A celebration of this year’s most innovative, influential, and powerful nonfiction works

Every year, the world-class editors at getAbstract read through the most inspiring, outstanding, and enlightening English and German nonfiction business literature available, and choose four recipients of the getAbstract International Book Award. Here is a look at the 2014 winners announced during the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.

English

  • Data Crush by Christopher Surdak, AMACOM A Division of American Management Association
  • The Frackers by Gregory Zuckerman, Portfolio, Penguin USA, A Penguin Random House Company

German

  • Geld by Christian Felber, Deuticke, Paul Zsolnay Verlag
  • Wie wir uns täglich die Zukunft versauen by Pero Mićić, Econ, Ullstein Buchverlage

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CharismaticLeader

Have you ever met someone and immediately thought, “Wow, that person has charisma”? Perhaps you’ve followed that thought up with an “I wish I could command a room like that”. The question of charisma being innate vs. learned is almost as old as the chicken/egg question. For a long time, experts ‘proved’ that charismatic leaders were born, not made.

Companies are always searching for those ‘charismatic’ leaders – the Steve Jobs that was born ready to take their profits to the Promised Land by inspiring and mobilizing employees and fostering customer followership. Today, more and more experts are realizing that this trait can be learned and developed. Read the rest of this entry »

BusinessTrends

This has been an interesting year for businesses as we saw many shifts in consumerism, marketing, production and the workplace itself. Here, our top 5 business trends that you just can’t ignore:

1. Go Big or Go Home
We began to hear a lot about Big Data over the course of this year. What is Big Data? It’s a collection of data sets that is so large it is difficult to process by traditional data processing applications. It makes our list not only because it is one of the year’s new business buzz phrases but also because clever entrepreneurs and innovators are creating tools and applications that can process this ever-growing stockpile of information that is too large for companies to manage, store and analyze in house, thereby crafting a new technology market.

Read the abstract of Mark van Rijmenam’s Think Bigger.

2. Girl Power!
Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg and her 2013 bestseller, Lean In, we all began to reexamine women’s roles in the workplace, which has become known as the Lean In effect. In addition, the power of women in business is growing—the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 54% over the past 15 years. Indeed, according to Forbes, more than one billion women will enter the workplace over the course of the next decade. Research shows that these women will be more educated than men and will begin to take more of the leadership roles available. Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Marie Forleo are just the tip of the iceberg.

Read the abstract of Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders.

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Now in its fourteenth year, getAbstract honors ten critically acclaimed nonfiction books from the past year’s business literature. This is the longest-running international business book award program and celebrates English and German-language works. Previous winners include celebrated authors such as George A. Akerlof, Phil Rosenzweig, Jared Diamond and Detlev S. Schlichter.

“I feel honored to have received this award in previous years from an organization that has a reputation for quality analysis and review of business books,” said Robert J. Shiller, Nobel Laureate and Yale University Professor. “It means more to me to receive an award like this than it is to make a bestseller list.” Read the rest of this entry »

twitter

Twitter can be a valuable tool for gathering up-to-the-minute collective intelligence and ideas from experts, leaders and conceptualizers. Indeed, the social media platform has changed enormously how we collect and collate information by directly connecting us to the innovators and industry leaders of our day. Our personal commentary on news, insights and trends is thereby not only reliable but immediate and efficient. One of Twitter’s leading benefits, over any other social media platform currently available to us, is that it enables us to network with, and learn from, others.

“Business leaders who truly embrace the concept of sharing and helping are worth following,” says Peter Shankman, who is globally recognized for his alternative thinking regarding marketing and social media, and features on our list of top 10 business leaders to follow. “They’re few and far between,” he continues, “but the ones who understand that there’s tremendous benefit in sharing their knowledge, not only for the good of all mankind, but financially- and revenue-wise as well…they’re the smart ones; they’re the ones worth following and retweeting.”

With this in mind, we identified the top 10 business leaders to follow on Twitter. We considered their influence in society or industry, the quality of their tweets, how frequently they tweet and how willing they are to engage with their network. So without further ado, here are our picks: Read the rest of this entry »

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When you’re a small business owner, efficiency is everything. You’re up against the big dogs in the world, so you have to make sure all of your priorities and resources are well-known, because one misstep could make or break all that you’ve worked so hard to build. Deadlines must always be met, but without sacrificing the production quality of your product. This means you have to be on top of the company’s schedule, your schedule and the schedule of all that report to you.

It can be an overwhelming task, to say the least. So here are some tips to help make sure your small business runs like a well-oiled machine.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

When you’re trying to grow a business from the ground up, it may seem like a great idea to take on every opportunity that comes your way and run with it. But you have to prioritize. Which opportunities seem like they have the most potential? Which can you realistically take on without spreading yourself too thin? Only commit to solid opportunities that your time and resources align with, so that in the end, you deliver something that is up to your standards.

Even Your Strengths Can Be Improved

What is it that is driving the most profit to your business? Identify this and then scrutinize it and determine what you can do to make it even better. There’s always room for improvement, and that leads to increased success.

It’s Okay to Say No

Running your own business is a full-time job; you don’t really get to take a day off. So when it comes to being bombarded with side requests from friends, family and even employees, stop a moment and think: Is this worth my time? Do I actually even have time for this? Or, in the case of an employee: Is this something they should be able to figure out for themselves? If the answers are “no” and “yes”, respectively, respectfully decline and eventually you will have established boundaries.

Set Deadlines

It’s beyond important to have a set list of deadlines in order to ensure that everything is done in a timely manner. Be sure to adhere to these deadlines, because the minute you let a few slide, you’ll soon find yourself buried and it can become difficult, if not impossible, to recover.

Take a Breather

Yes, running a business is essentially a non-stop job. But in reality, you need to allow for a little time to yourself. So while you may be in the middle of a hectic day, make a point to step away for 15-30 minutes. Going nonstop can result in poor decision-making, so taking this time—which you may feel is time you can’t afford to lose—will actually help result in improved work and decision-making.