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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A TRIBUTE TO A MAN WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE... STEVE JOBS


 My heart bleeds as I write this piece. The pen feels too heavy for my grief-stricken fingers. The string of death has left as with unbearable agony. I shudder to ponder over the fugacity of life. Oh! Life is indeed ephemeral. The fact that we are more often than not caught unaware by the inevitable perplexes me.

Steve Jobs as the world knew you, a once great business magnate with proven leadership in entrepreneurship and invention is gone. What a painful truth I must admit. I am deeply saddened as I repeat these words that Steve Jobs has passed away. Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enriched and improved several lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.

I once read of a man who stood to speak at a funeral of a friend, he referred to the dates on his tombstone from the beginning to the end. He noted that first came his date of birth and spoke the following with tears – What mattered most of all was the dash between those years, for that dash represents all the time that he spent alive on earth. And only those who love and understood him knows what that little line is worth. In that dash a generation discovered the usefulness of working with machines to achieve greater results, In that dash a world was introduced to new mode and way of communicating, In that dash an upcoming breed was encouraged that If we believe we can, If we try we will and If we do we will achieve.

I wonder why somebody should write a book with the title “DEATH IS NO SPORTSMAN” A discerning mind explains it all. In most sports and games there are two players. In tennis one serves into tack into the server’s court. In boxing, an opponent hits back. If death were a sportsman how could he take a Fifty-Six year old successful inventor from a still young and developing world without notice? How? A sportsman does not behave that way. Death makes no room for “FAIR PLAY” it strikes and that is it.

William Shakespeare wrote “Death is a necessary end and it will come when it will come” Baa gbin miikoa – baa nmon miik pa, to mean, dry leaves are falling fresh leaves are also falling. Steve we will miss you. Your mortal remains will be gone forever but we promise you one thing, for your memories, dreams and values, they will be preserved for several moments to come. Like Oscar Hamilton said,” walk on, walk with hope in your heart and you will never walk alone”.

Sober   Tender Eloquent Versatile Entertaining walk on with hope in your heart and you will never walk alone.

Like you once said, There's an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. 'I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.' And we've always tried to do that at Apple since the very very beginning. And we always will.

—Steve Jobs

Untill we meet again we would skate to where you could not reach to build the next generation of iThinkers.

Now the laborers task is o’er

Now the battle day is past

Now upon the farthest shore

Land the voyager at last

Father in thy gracious keeping

Leave we now our servant sleeping.



FARE THEE WELL!!!

Friday, 30 September 2011

MY 10 BIRTHDAY WISHES TO THE WORLD



1.      REACH HIGH BUT REMAIN GROUNDED



2.      RUN FAST BUT STAY IN YOUR TRACK



3.      PURSUE THE FUTURE BUT LEARN FROM THE PAST



4.      BE INNOVATIVE BUT HONOR TRADITION



5.      DRIVE GROWTH BUT VALUE PEOPLE



6.      THINK BIG BUT LIVE SMALL



7.      CREATE PROFIT BUT SHARE REWARDS



8.      WIN GLADLY BUT LOOSE GRACIOUSLY



9.      REACH THE WORLD BUT SAVE YOUR HOME



10.  ??? ???? ???


SOURCE: DR. MENSAH OTABIL







Monday, 19 September 2011

EDUCATION, SKILL AND EXPERIENCE, THE MISSING LINK IN CONTEMPORARY TRAINING


EDUCATION, SKILL AND EXPERIENCE: Today, these words seem similar in practice. How about Sex Education, Sex Skill and Sex Experience; Which of these would you wish your little one benefited from? Clearly it becomes evident that each of these words represents a specific purpose in the progress of every individual hence a significant difference in their meanings.
 Most often we tend to associate Education, Skill and Experience with one meaning. This is what has created a huge deficit in the quality of our human resource today. On one end you find a lot of starters with so much capability and yet lack the ability and on the other hand you find another group with so much ability but also lacking the capability.
Education has been described as the means of acquiring knowledge in any field. It could be formal or non-formal, whichever way its baseline represents the transfer of knowledge. The bible makes mention of knowledge being a key factor in survival and also reiterate its essence by describing it as the source of stability in our times. Over the years it has proven itself a worthy partner in championing various courses and also numerous discoveries but it does not end there.
Skill on the other hand has been the cornerstone rejected by most contemporary builders. It is defined as the continuous application of knowledge. Most curricula today focus on “What was” and “What is” Forgetting that, perhaps the most important questions of our time might have to involve a combination of How, Where, Who, What, Which and When?    
Experience is the continuous application of a skill to obtain precision, perfection and accuracy. How often do people reach this stage in their careers? Money and Time is always spent on upgrading our educational status at our various workplaces and yet little is done to upgrade our knowledge into useful skills. How often do our MBA Thesis affect our Career Development, the emphasis rather seems to be on the promotion it presents as well as the benefits it comes with.
Is it not a fallacy that, in these times where the world is filled with Academic Laureates like never before:
·         We lose 116 square miles of rainforest or about an acre every second.
·         We also lose another 72 square miles to encroaching deserts, as a result of human mismanagement and overpopulation.
·         Even as you read this, we will add 2,700 tons of chlorofluorocarbons to the atmosphere and 15 million tons of carbon.
·         We experience a recession and a financial meltdown even in the midst of so many Economist and Administrators.
In Ghana alone over 100,000 graduates are produced annually in various disciplines. Yet, the problem still remains; Global Warming at its peak, Hunger and Drought at its best, Wars and Terrorism at its highest peril. Education can never answer all our questions neither can it solve all our problems. As said by Wiesel, "It emphasises theories instead of values, concepts rather than human beings, abstraction rather than consciousness, answers instead of questions, ideology and efficiency rather than conscience." To fully harness the potentials of our greatest asset which is the HUMAN RESOURCE, we must create a clear cut between what Education, Skill and Experience represent at each stage in the life of every human being and apply it accordingly. Education in all spheres must precede a skill and constant practice of the skill will produce experience. If education teaches you that Over-Spending creates scarcity, your constant practice of Effective Money Management then becomes a skill, regular practise of the acquired skill would make you an expert in Economics.

Monday, 12 September 2011

“NEW DISCOVERIES……………CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT”, THE WOES OF A 21st CENTURY INVENTOR

Humans from prehistoric times have always upheld the essence of imagination. It is no joke Albert Einstein writes in his memoirs stating, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. A very deep and insightful statement which seeks to unlock the mysteries entangled in this discourse.

To begin with let us take a critical look at the word imagination and contrast it with knowledge.

Imagination is the ability to form a mental image of something that is not perceived through the senses. It is the ability of the mind to build mental scenes, objects or events that do not exist, are not present or have happened in the past. Memory is actually a manifestation of imagination. Everyone possesses some imaginative ability. In some, it may be highly developed and in others it may manifest in a weaker form. It manifests in various degrees in various people.

Imagination makes it possible to experience a whole world inside the mind. It gives the ability to look at any situation from a different point of view, and enables one to mentally explore the past and project the future.

The world we live in was created by creative originator though backed by spiritual forces. In Genesis 1:2, the bible recounts that the earth was without form and void…….. “Let there be light”, the lord said, and there was light. This basic scenario offers as an insight into the essence of imagination and creativity and its value in the modern era.                                                 

Imagination manifests in various forms, one of which is daydreaming. Though too much idle daydreaming may make one impractical, some daydreaming, when not being engaged in something that requires attention provides some temporary happiness, calmness and relief from stress. People often redefine creativity as creating Space Shuttles, Launching Space Expeditions and even pioneering Scientific Breakthroughs, forgetting that taking a little time off to think of a solution to an analytical mathematical problem is a unique discovery on its own.

I have realized that with imagination you can travel anywhere in the speed of light without any obstacles. It can make you feel free, though temporarily and only in the mind, from difficulties and unpleasant circumstances. Unfortunately some scientists fail to go beyond this stage which is described by many as the comfort zone and rather dwell on knowledge of an epoch generation in the name of continuous improvement. In the name of engineering, modern scientists have invented a lot of artifacts which represents a solution of the past. Vaccines developed by Edward Jenner are still re-engineered to suit modern taste forgetting that the cure to global pandemics such as HIV/AIDS and many more still remain a myth to several millions of people today.

George Santayana (1863–1952), a U.S. philosopher and poet said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." A study of the history of American inventors, especially inventors whose careers started between 20 and 40 years ago, has been crucial and nothing to write home about. The world’s phenomenal economic success has been driven by a number of factors such as abundance of natural resources, a population of pioneers that were willing to take risks, and most important Global Readiness. The patent system led to the formation of many great companies such as AT&T / Bell, Ford, GE, IBM, and Litton to name a few. The problem is companies who are birthed by inventors have a life cycle similar to, but generally longer, than man.

When young these companies were run by the inventors and were willing to take big risks introducing new inventions. With success, and middle age, they became more rigid and less willing to take risk. They continued to invent but the inventions were not as dramatic as those that founded them were. They also generally become predators on other inventors during their mid life. They use their huge resources and influence to crush the upcoming generation of inventors and generally do their best to not compensate the inventor.

Sustained success over a long period often leads to stagnation. Once stagnation sets in, the companies loose the desire to innovate and are unwilling to take any risk. At this stage in their life, they become very active politically in an effort to legislate an environment where they can continue to profit without risk.

There were many opportunities, niches to fill, for inventors during the first 75 to 100 years of our history. During that time the difference in size and assets between the big and small companies was much smaller than today. The patent system worked very well to during this time.

The next 100 years was a bleak time for most solo inventors. The very companies that were founded by innovators became predators that did their best to crush any upstarts that dared to challenge them. During this time the only way inventors were likely to succeed was by starting their own company. Things were so bad that some inventors such as Rudolf Diesel committed suicide when faced with harsh patent conditions.

Those who attempted to sell patents generally died paupers, and a business manager who was never creative and did not appreciate the value of invention, usually displaced those who started their companies. The inventor / founder generally suffered the same fate as their peers who simply tried to sell their patent. During this time, the only inventors that succeeded were those that were in a niche market, able to grow a company without crossing swords with an entity that was much larger than they were.

This brings us to study a number of contemporary inventors who started their careers during the dark ages of today. I studied the following inventors.

 • Damadian - MRI

• Gorden Gould - Laser

• Wilson Greatbatch - Pacemaker

• Bob Kearns - Delay windshield wiper

• Jerome Lemelson - Machine vision, Automated warehouse, etc.

Each of these inventors continued to invent while their ideas were being stolen and claimed to be an improvement. They all fought protracted battles to protect their rights. Many of them lost battles in spite of the fact that they were right; yet, they still pressed on to produce more inventions. They persevered in spite of disappointments.

Both Gordon Gould and Lemelson have been the objects of industry smear campaigns. Gould prevailed, in spite of the fact that the whole laser community was involved in the attack. Lemelson is currently being attacked by many institutions in the industry. Companies such as NAM, AIPLA and IPO are all active in these attacks.

Gordon Gould is the inventor of the laser. Jerome Lemelson is the third most prolific inventor in modern history (Edison is first, Land is second) and the most prolific inventor of our time. He is now in his seventies, a philanthropist that has funded numerous historical and educational programs.

Through their foresight and shear tenacious, this generation of inventors blazed a trail and set an example that allows my generation to invent and gives us at least a fighting chance of being compensated for our inventiveness

Imagination is not limited only to seeing pictures in the mind. It involves all the five senses and the feelings. One can imagine a sound, taste, smell, a physical sensation or a feeling or emotion. For some people it is easier to see mental pictures, others find it easier to imagine a feeling, and some are more comfortable imagining the sensation of one of the five senses. Training of the imagination gives the ability to combine all the senses.

To conclude the bone of contention is not centered on the usefulness discovering new ways of thinking about what is already known or to discover new data or facts but rather to promote a system that would enable the Albert Einstein’s, Thomas Edison’s and Isaac Newton’s of our time to rise up and live beyond the task of our fore-fathers.

Solar Energy is a modern means of producing electrical and mechanical energy engineered by modern science. Has its failure to serve the majority being a problem of creativity? Or a problem of a generation that has failed to provide its offspring’s the needed platform to promote its usefulness? I throw this question to the every giant out there!

Ex Homo Semper Aliquid Novi, to wit,

Out of Man, Always something new – Pliny The Elder.