Newsletter – September, 2018

On My Mind
Nike decided to dive head first into divisive politics by using Colin Kaepernick, a former National Football League (NFL) quarterback, in an advertisement with the phrase: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” There is a current controversy in the NFL regarding players taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem prior to each game. Kaepernick gained notoriety by taking a knee and then speaking his mind to the media. His playing career spiraled downward from that point. A decision like Nike made shouldn’t be taken lightly by organizations because immediately some people will love your organization more, some people won’t care, and some people will hate your organization. It will be interesting to see how this plays out (pardon the pun). We haven’t seen the same phenomenon in Major League Baseball and I’m not sure why.

Interesting Stories
I was at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California on August 7 when Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, tweeted that he planned to take the company private. This triggered immediate passionate responses from analysts and investors—some positive and some negative. The tweet also attracted the interest of the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was surreal. Musk has apparently borrowed the “business by tweeting” playbook which has worked well for getting attention, but has not helped Tesla overcome its production issues.

Company News
I presented on Integrating Quality, Analytics, and Big Data at the American Society for Quality – Madison Section meeting in Madison, WI on September 11, 2018. The schedule for the next public SIS events has been set: the Leading Rapid Action Projects Workshop on October 16-17, 2018 is full; Statistics & Analytics for Strategic Improvement will be held on November 6-7, 2018; Leading Rapid Action Projects will be held (again) on November 14-15, 2018; Strategy Tools for Strategic Improvement will be held on November 29, 2018; Strategic Improvement Green Belt will start January 8, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt will start January 15, 2019; and the Customer Experience Deep Dive Workshop will be held January 23, 2019. The brochures for these events will be available on this website on September 20, 2018. The 10th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 2, 2018 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The brochure is available on this website.

Intriguing Reads
The book Big Data: A Very Short Introduction by Dawn Holmes is an excellent “starter book” for anyone interested in learning about Big Data at a basic level. Oxford University Press has published a number of these “Very Short Introductions” or VSIs and they are generally excellent and easy to travel with because they are small books. I especially enjoyed the chapters on Big data analytics and Big data security and the Snowden case.