Sunday, May 31, 2020

How smart is your phone?

In 2020, the number of smartphone users in the world is 3.5 Billion, which translates to 45.04% of the world's population owning a smartphone. In total, the number of people that own a smart and feature phone is 4.78 Billion, making up 61.51% of the world's population.

According to GSMA real-time intelligence data, today there are 5.28 Billion people that have a mobile device in the world. This means that 67.95% of the world's population has a mobile device. Back in 2017, the number of people with mobile devices was only 53% and it is predicted that by 2023 the number of people with a mobile device will increase to 7.33 Billion.

I started selling "Car Phones" for NYNEX in the early 80's. Back in the day, I thought that "Cellular Phones" were going to be a big deal - a big enough deal to divert my attention from going to medical school, or even from doing stuff with NASA. Hat Tip to my sister JoAnn for getting me my pilot's license. Yeah, I was one of the first people in the USA to sell cellular phones and service - to Doctors! If you don't GO to medical school, you can always "School the Doctors" right? 

But this SMARTPHONE thing - this might be the story of the century. If there were no smartphones, there would be no Uber, no Twitter, probably no Facebook. Probably no podcasts, video or otherwise. If it were not for smartphones, there would probably be no "Big Four" technology companies Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. And let's not forget Zoom - which has now become a verb. 

I understand that Donald Trump, our POTUS uses Twitter on his smartphone, I'll have to fact-check that, it could be fake news.

Anyway: today, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to be 275.66 million. That means that there are 275 million volunteer TV news reporters in the USA and growing. Today because of coronavirus, authorities everywhere are using smartphones to track the the movement of people, collecting anonymized data to study the movement of people more generally. 

As I write this blog, I am watching (on an iPad) a scene of helicopters and sirens racing around Los Angeles trying to cope with what's been an awful day for that city in an awful week for this country. 

Yesterday, I watched (on my smartphone) the launch LIVE of the SpaceX spacecraft carrying two NASA astronauts - marking the first time humans have traveled into Earth's orbit from US soil in nearly a decade. 

Born in 1960, our first color TV had three major channels when I was growing up in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. And "news" was in real-time. You either were home to catch Walter Cronkite on live TV, or you missed it. There was no VCR, and there certainly was no YouTube. There was no Twitter, but there was a radio in the kitchen. My first memory was watching my mother react to hearing that JFK was assassinated. I can describe that kitchen radio today, in vivid detail. I was three years old.

I don't know if this is true, but today, on this last day of May 2020, the "smartphone" might become the one technology that has/will change the world forever. Banking. Education. News. Commerce. Communication. Collaboration. 

Technology changes everything. But when we look back at the history of our country, I think that having smartphones in the hands of pretty much every living adult in the USA will be credited for what we ultimately become as a nation - good or bad.

Let's hope that (all of us) start using our hand-held superpowers for good and not evil.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Speed, Quality, Cost

I am sure that you have seen or heard of the saying "Speed, Quality or Cost, pick any two."  I always smile when I come across that quote or meme. 

If you want it fast with high quality, it will be expensive.

If you want it cheap and fast, it will be low quality.

If you want it to be of high quality and cheap, it will not be delivered fast.

It is understood that people might take a few minutes to try to think of a scenario where the speed, quality, cost triangle does not apply. But pretty quick, most people will just say to themselves, "yeah, that's true." Pick any two.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day here in the USA. It originally was a day to honor and celebrate those who died in the Civil War (1861 - 1865). Today, it is a day to honor anyone who died while in service of the United States military. Interesting, it was not until 1967 that we officially named it Memorial Day.

In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3:00 pm in an act of national unity. That time was chosen because that was the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.

You cannot have freedoms without sacrifice. 

But you cannot make a sacrifice for another, without putting the needs of others ahead of your own. And without gratitude for the sacrifice of others, there can be no freedoms in society.

As you pause for one minute at 3:00 pm tomorrow in a act of national unity, you shall be doing so during a national pandemic. At that time, there may be 100,000 who have died due to COVID-19 here in the USA. 

We are currently fighting a different kind of enemy. Hopefully (all of us) can think about what it truly means to a hero, a patriot and a citizen of the United States of America. 

Freedom, Sacrifice, Gratitude. 

Indeed, we must find a way to have all three at the same time, for without all three in harmony and in balance, none of the three can exist alone.

"Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." – Adlai Stevenson

"I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism."– Bob Riley

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."– Joseph Campbell

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."– George S. Patton

"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." – John F. Kennedy

"Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering." – Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Alice's (Cloud) Restaurant

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...
Excepting Alice

If you are old like me, you know this classic song.

Alice's Restaurant Massacree is commonly known as Alice's Restaurant, a satirical talking blues song by singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie, released as the title track to his 1967 album Alice's Restaurant. The song is a deadpan protest against the Vietnam War draft, in the form of a comically exaggerated but true story from Guthrie's own life.

We would play this song every year, at Thanksgiving, for as long as I can remember. Last year when I Googled it to play it, I came across Alice's Kids.

One thing led to another and next thing you know, I'm chatting live with Ron Fitzsimmons, founder of Alice's Kids. Next thing you know, Alice's Kids becomes the official charity of the

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...

A few years ago, during a snowstorm, I stumbled across a podcast of Lee Cockerell (of Hilton, Marriott and The Disney Company fame). I said to myself "Wow, this guy would make a great keynote for NYED-LA." One thing led to another and next thing you know, I'm connected with Lee Cockerell on LinkedIn.

I said in LinkedIn chat: Lee, I met you via David Burkus. You are amazing, I would love to add you to the TALENT pages of the You have the gift to get the point out to the millenials. Can we talk one day soon?

Lee types back to me in LinkedIn chat: "I am on a speaking tour right now, I will be in my car from 2-5 today and tomorrow from 1-5 if you to call me, here is my cell..."

Next thing you know, I'm buying a plane ticket to Orlando. Next thing you know, we are building out Next thing you know, Lee's grandson needs a place to stay in New Jersey for the summer, during his college internship. I offered up our vacant 2nd floor, no charge. Next thing you know my wife is in her glory as she once again has "a baby" in the house to pamper and spoil for the summer. A 6'2" baby, a Captain America stunt double. (We were empty nesters at that time, both of our boys moved out). Point: Lee's grandson is an AMAZING human, like straight out of central casting at Disney.

Next thing you know we meet Lee's son Dan Cockerell, as he comes to visit HIS son. Next thing you know, we have TWO Cockerells on the talent page of

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...

Last month I saw a tweet from Tom Peters that caught my eye. Yeah, THAT Tom Peters. I must be getting slow in my old age, but it took me a week or two to connect with Tom. What a body of work. I wonder if we could do a with Tom Peters? I wonder if we could promote his new book, to our global community? What about promoting (Point: we are recording a video podcast with Tom Peters on 5/19).

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...

Want to talk about the Elephant in the room?

Yes, our lives have changed dramatically over the past few months. Many of us are holding onto the belief that soon, everything will return to normal. People have lost money. Industries have been decimated. And - new industries have been flourishing due to unexpected demand. The technology sector in particular has seen massive profit spikes. As people are staying home, they're using new devices and programs to communicate, collaborate and live.

Zoom has become "a verb" as it gained 318% in just over a week in the middle of the crisis. Indoor cycle and fitness software producer Peloton, which had been struggling before the crisis, gained 32% in less than a week. Work messaging app Slack gained 33% in less than a week, after it's been lagging behind in performance for a year.

COVID-19 changed our lives, but our lives were already in a state of flux. It was just last year that we were talking about Climate Change and we were all worried about AI (Artificial Intelligence) totally disrupting our world. AI robots were supposed to take our jobs, remember? Not a virus.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant...

Remote Work has become Work. Distance Education has become Education. Telemedicine has become Medicine. And so on. The world was already changing, COVID-19 just made the future (our future) arrive early. And, our future showed up with a BANG. 

OK Tom, land the plane - tie it all together for us!

You can get anything you want, at Alice's (Cloud) Restaurant... DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR IN MINUTES!

Alice's Restaurant was originally recorded in 1967. On CBS This Morning on Thanksgiving 2016, Arlo Guthrie said: "It's not an anti-war song, it's an anti-stupid song. Because you can't run a country that way."


I love that. My friend Lee Cockerell has a saying: "If you have flies in your kitchen, you must like flies."

Today, with the power of the cloud - if you are stupid, you must like being stupid. BUT you don't have to REMAIN stupid. And you certainly do not have to do it alone. We are all in this together. There are tough times in America today.

But none of us is as smart as all of us. You don't get extra points for going solo. Ask for help, get the help you need - and pay it forward.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's (Cloud) Restaurant... 

Join the and THRIVE in the clouds

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Muscles, Brains and Heart

Wow. It feels like it was only a few months ago that 5,000+ gathered live at Javits Center in NYC for the AI Summit. So many smart people in one place, all discussing how AI (Artificial Intelligence) was going to change the world, and how AI (Robots) were going to make us all unemployed.

Well, not all of us would be unemployed, but enough to cause global chaos and economic upheaval.

It feels like it was only a few months ago, because it was only a few months ago. In December of 2019, our big fear was from technology taking our jobs. Not biology.

The only constant in life is change.
It is a good time to remind yourself that 2020 - 1776 = 244

It  has only been 244 years since Congress renamed the nation "United States of America" which replaced the term "United Colonies," which had been in general use.

In less than 244 years, we went from worrying about fighting the British to fighting AI Robots to fighting a Virus.

The British were once our enemy. Today we are allies. 

Just a few months ago, many felt that Technology and AI was the enemy. Today, we are relying on Science and Technology to save us. "NYED-LA" has changed - a lot. In 1983 we were all about Distance Learning. And as the world changed, we morphed into DIGITAL Learning. And now after 37 years, we are just DIGITAL LIVING. I only got involved in running NYDLA back in 2012, but what a ride the past 8 years have been.

Change is the only constant in life. NYDLA was born as a source of information for professional development. It was created to serve corporate training, teaching, training, learning and performance professionals. NYDLA was a "go-to" resource for innovative global learning and development news, trends, research and statistics, best practices, new products, services and technologies.

Basically, NYDLA was a glorified newsletter in 1983, and sounds like it was boring as hell.

Well, there is nothing boring about our world today. Technology will play an oversized role in learning in our future - and our future is NOW. But that role shall also be fulfilled by humans. The future is all about teachers, trainers, coaches, peers, families, and communities at large working for a common cause. The "Digital Divide" which refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology must go the way of buggy whips.

Together, we will need to evolve from us learning about technology to technology learning about us.

Learning in the future will be about humans becoming more human, while technology will assist. In the words of London School of Economics Professor Minouche Shafik: "In the past, jobs were about muscles; now they're about brains; but in the future, jobs will be about the heart."

Transformative Change happens when there is a catalyst and a crisis. A crucible. A time of profound trial at the end of which something new and much better emerges. The term crucible comes from a vessel used by medieval alchemists that withstand extreme heat to turn base metals into gold.

Today, COVID-19 is our crucible. 

The severe trials of the pandemic have revealed fundamental weaknesses in our society - many of which we knew about but were content to ignore. COVID-19 has forced our hand. The pandemic has made the future happen in months, not years. The future we knew was coming, has simply arrived early. We now have an opportunity to change because we have to, we have no choice but to embrace change. If we must change, let it be transformative and good for all. 

244 years happened in the blink of an eye. An entire nation (ours) was born out of conflict, stress, sacrifice and loss. What can help us today is for all of us to learn from the past, and - for all of us to draw on the collective wisdom of the past.

The British were once our enemy, now we are allies. 

Now, today: Science and Technology are our allies, and AI is not the enemy. 

Our nation was born only 244 years ago. Let's embrace the transformative change that has been thrust upon us, and ALL OF US shall make our nation better.