Dubai and UAE Boycott Information

For those that follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that I have announced a boycott of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

I’m implementing this boycott as a protest against the oppressive regime that as its latest demonstration of wisdom put a woman in jail for being raped. That’s right; she was raped and was subsequently imprisoned and sentenced to 16 months in jail for having sex outside marriage.

It just happens to be that this woman was Norwegian, but honestly, I couldn’t care less about the nationality of the parties involved. This is about as clear a violation of any decent behavior as I can imagine.

I do not oppose Islam or any country’s reasonable interpretation of Islamic laws. I have nothing against Muslims, or any other religious group for that matter. I am, however, vehemently opposed to state sanctioned violations of individuals.

As a result of this, I’m have now added a WordPress plug-in to this blog and to my Bitcoin blog, which blocks access from any IP-address in the UAE. The plug-in, called iQ Block Country, allows me to select countries from which users are not allowed access.

I have also added a 1000% sales tax for any USP Journal purchase from UAE. Sadly, I cannot block sales from an individual country completely. I will attempt to do the same for journals sold through iBookstore and Amazon.

I will further refuse any new work for any company based in Dubai or who has a significant presence in UAE. This includes people as well; no students from UAE will be accepted, no inquiries or assistance rendered.

I will, however, render whatever assistance I can to people in the UAE that wants to get away from that regime. For my SharePoint friends, I will do my utmost to help you secure jobs in other countries (although you can’t actually see this message). Once you have left, I will also help you, free of charge, with learning SharePoint through my mentoring program for up to six months or however else I can.

This boycott will remain in place indefinitely.

.b

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SharePoint and Social – Defining the Problem to Which You Have a Solution

Hey, did you hear? SharePoint is the new social platform! It will be the Facebook of the enterprise! And Twitter! And it will be, well, whatever it is the kids use these days.

You’ll be forgiven for thinking the above is true, but regardless of my divine ability to forgive, you’d still be wrong. SharePoint isn’t social, nor are the organizations that think so. In fact, any person to use the term social enterprise will prove they understand neither social nor enterprise.

What we have, however, is a whole new toolbox to give people new problems.

A Feature You Didn’t Know You Needed

“This gadget is so good, you’ll wonder how you survived without it.”

Very few innovations have ever been able to claim the above statement over a bit of time. The internet, the mobile phone, the airplane; these are examples of things that really have stood the test of time because they solve problems that people have.

Everyone is looking to find that next big thing, but in the meantime, businesses are as healthy as ever and don’t really have a lot of the problems we try to solve.

A few years back, I wrote an article on why showing potential clients a SharePoint Team Site is a terrible idea. The reason is simply that clients then become focused on what they can get rather than what problems they are trying to solve already. They see a calendar and start thinking about how they can use that calendar to do something and immediately introduce new problems to their organization that weren’t there before.

Of course, for SharePoint sales people or those that wish to market SharePoint, it is damn easy to just pop up a Team Site and show them what’s there. We already have the tools to solve whatever problems a Team Site solves, so why not adopt some of those problems yourself?

We’re essentially creating problems based on the tools we have to solve them. This is a very dangerous trend because we tend to ignore the problems we already have for the short-term comfort of at least solving some problems, even though we’ve never actually had those problems in the first place.

We’re suckers, and SharePoint knows how to play on those suckers’ instinct.

SharePoint Social Solves a Non-Problem Only

You may also remember that a few months ago, I use a similar phrase as this header to describe SharePoint 2013 Apps. That is because, like SharePoint social, SharePoint 2013 Apps doesn’t really solve a problem at all. However, now that we have a solution, we need to create the problem so that we get the nice, comfy feeling of moving somewhere.

Social in SharePoint is the same thing; nobody knew they just had to have a social strategy for the enterprise before, but now that you can’t spit on the street without hitting a vendor pushing social, it’s damn hard to ignore. Of course, if everyone else is doing it, so must you, right? The herd is always right, as we all know. </irony>

So, we start inventing problems that we can solve with the tools we have. We can now do micro-blogging in SharePoint, so we obviously had a problem of not being able to micro-blog before. We have social profiles because obviously we’re incapable of doing or jobs if we don’t know which hobbies Frank in HR pursues in his spare time. We have leisure activities because obviously when people are unhappy, we give them bread and circus rather than fix the reason why they are not happy.

Are We Really That Stupid?

What bothers me most of all is how easy it is to get people to buy stuff they don’t need. A whole industry is dedicated to convincing people through marketing and slick sales strategies to part with their hard-earned money to pick up stuff they don’t need.

I recently moved to Costa Rica. In my suitcase, I had packed my desktop computer from 2007 and some basic clothes. My wife traveled with roughly the same baggage. We started realizing, my wife most of all, how much crap we had acquired over the years; stuff we never used, stuff that solved problems we didn’t have, and stuff that was, probably with good intent, given to us by people who thought we should adopt the problems their gifts solved.

When I talk to clients, I’m amazed at how often they tell me their problems are that they don’t have the tools SharePoint provides. They don’t have a social platform, and SharePoint has a social platform, right?

Well, ask instead this; what problem is it that a social platform solves? Don’t think about what you can accomplish with a social platform because that is expanding on your existing problem base. Think about what problem you have today that can only be solved by the introduction of a social platform.

Even easier, think about a TV. What problem does a TV solve? You can watch games and shows and series, but the only problem that solves is your inability to watch games and shows and series. Do you have a fundamental problem that such an inability prevents you from solving?

If not, think about all the problems a TV introduces. Who controls the remote? If we go out to dinner now, will we be back before the next episode of something? Do we have to remember to unplug the TV in a thunderstorm?

The same thing happens when you introduce tools into an organization that doesn’t solve a problem. Who runs the social intranet? What is the policy of behavior and how do you enforce that policy? What about unacceptable behavior, do you withdraw social privileges for those that act outside what the scope of a company policy on acceptable behavior? How do you think, in the minds of employees, a social platform works when they have to adapt and learn new ways of behavior only to avoid having to chat someone up during the lunch break to learn about their hobbies?

Tell me again, what real problem that has been holding you back from success for years does the sudden availability of a social platform solve?

Or are you just looking for new problems to solve so you can get a new toy?

.b

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A Brief Rant: SharePoint Doesn’t Suck – You Suck!

A common pattern in a lot of frustration with IT systems is the users’ inability to grasp that not all systems were designed by them and how they would like a system to work. In other words, when something doesn’t work they way they would like it to work, they blame the system rather than learning how the system works.

“I can’t get Word to X to Y, Word must suck!”

or

“I can’t get Firefox to do Z, Firefox must suck!”

The reality, however, is that the “I can’t” to them translates to “Someone else should have done this the way I wanted them to do it” and “It’s certainly not my fault I lack the knowledge about this system, after all, I browsed a lot of web pages, just like I want learning this system to work, and I still haven’t got the foggiest about squat, so now the training system is at fault too!

Then, when someone tells them that they may want to reevaluate their stand because this is a fairly trivial problem to solve, that someone now become the idiot because they suck up to Microsoft, scam people, or have no clue what they are talking about.

At no point during this entire tirade does the original user for a second contemplate that their decades of experience in doing things a certain way may not always work, and that they cannot expect to apply 1:1 the knowledge they already have. Either the system sucks, the training sucks, or the people that understand suck.

Never them.

tl;dr: PEBKAC

.b

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