What are Bossless offices and how they are different from what’s out there now?

People talk about organizations that are process and project oriented, or horizontal; but Bossless offices are truly more process and project oriented. They have a bigger bias toward cross-functionality, because there are far fewer functions and vertical stovepipes. Two great references can be found in recent articles such as NPR’s “Inside the Bossless Office” and Jeri Ellsworth’s experience at Valve.

Bossless offices put an end to “I’ve got to check with my boss, and you’ve got to check with your boss, and your boss’s boss.” It dispenses the traditional approach that requires functional heads or department heads to get together and make decisions. Instead, decisions are made by the key people networks who have a stake in the outcome of a process, who have expertise in how it should run, who understand what the results should be, and who know from experience when these things should get done. As a result, Bossless organizations are flatter. There are fewer levels of hierarchy.

Why should businesses adopt a bossless approach?

Fewer boundaries need to be managed

The earlier employees within a Bossless organization become engaged in a process because they know they are a part of it, the fewer boundaries will have to be managed. You have people working together on key tasks that need to get done. It’s a completely different mindset from the hierarchical view, which is where “my department does our thing and your department does your thing and we never meet in the middle.”

There is no need for an extensive oversight

In a Bossless office, you don’t need the hierarchy and the extensive oversight and control in order to get things done. When control and coordination come from within the team, you save a lot of time and money, which translates into getting processes running more smoothly, and ultimately getting products more quickly into an increasingly competitive marketplace.

There is a greater opportunity to learn, grow, and be successful.

In a Bossless organization, success is built around what you do, and not so much your place on the org chart. Instead, your success is based on the kinds of things that you do, who you are and what your talents are, as opposed to where you are in the hierarchy. This is a much more fulfilling approach to work.

Managers can be better utilized

“We don’t even need this extra level of management! We have a hierarchy of four levels—maybe we can get by with just three or two.” This allows companies to get more out of their managers, because one manager can now take on strategic roles in fifteen or twenty areas, instead of having to be a hands-on manager in just two or three.

A Bossless office creates more leaders

People use the word “empowerment” today as if it were a newly invented concept. It’s not. Though, if you’re going to maximize your effectiveness in business, you have to empower people down to the lowest level to make decisions, form teams, and get things done without bureaucracy and red tape.

Technology can be used at ease

Employees may be allowed to bring laptops they use at home for work. This makes them comfortable as they are better acquainted with the machine. They many also be able to fix their own work timings.

Ultimately, in a Bossless office, you’ve got the right people in the right place at the right time—people with a stake in the outcome of a given process, a broader sense of expertise than they would have had if they had remained isolated in their cubbyholes, and ownership of the endeavor. Because they are becoming decision-makers, they are growing as leaders. Whatever your organization, whatever problems you face, Bossless office might just be the answer.

What is Windows Blue?

Hint: It’s not a paint color.  There are a lot of rumors swirling about what Windows Blue is.  Thus far, we can conclude that it’s not a service pack.  Windows Blue will be closer to what Mountain Lion is to Apple’s OS X.  We know this because since XP service pack 2, Microsoft has decided that any update that introduces new features is not a service pack.  As of right now, no one really knows what it is.

What can you expect?

There’s not much that’s official yet.  However, we can speculate on a few things.  One is that it’ll allow Windows to run on tablets that are smaller than 10.1 inches diagonally, Windows 8’s current limitation.  There should new built-in apps.  One that was shown off was a new video editing app called Movie Moments.   Expect new charms, such as one that will let you seamlessly switch between audio and video.

What not to expect.

It probably won’t replace Windows Phone 8 since Microsoft has decided to take the opposite path as Apple.  Apple currently uses the same operating system for its tablets and phones.  It probably won’t replace Windows RT.  RT runs on low power processors in order to increase battery life.  Blue would ruin that aspect.

The rumor mill is saying that Windows Blue will come out sometime this year.  We’ll be keeping an eye out.

Nothing Beats Free: Part 2 of an going series

When doing business nothing is better than free.  So, what’s good out there that’s free?  There’s plenty out there for business owner on a budget.

For Your Security: Windows Defender

For Windows 8, Microsoft combined its anti-spyware and real time anti-virus scanner into the Windows Defender. It’s not the best security suite around, but it’ll cost you nothing.  If you’re on a budget, just keep your Windows Defender up-to-date and you should be mostly secure.

Human Resource Management: Orange HRM

Orange HRM is an open source database software.  It helps keep track of job applicants, organize employee information, and assign permissions at a touch of a button.  It sounds complicated, but this software has a low learning curve.  There are paid SaaS (software as a service), but they are not necessary for most small businesses.

E-mail Marketing: MailChimp

MailChimp has several tiers of service. However, the free one is pretty generous.  It lets you send up to 12,000 e-mails to up to 2,000 e-mail addresses. With it, you can create quasi-customized templates to create a fairly unique look for your business.  The free version also has analytic data on your e-mail marketing campaign.

And of course, if you need IT support you can find that here.


Does Your Business Need An App?

Confucius once said that the inferior man knows what would sell, while the superior man knows what is right.  Any small business owner will tell you that it’s much easier to be the superior man, because it’s hard to pin down how to sell.

What we do know is that technology often goes hand-in-hand with increases in business.  From the cash register to shipping tracking codes, technology can lower the barrier for a business transaction to occur.

It’s just common sense that the easier something is, the more likely we are to do it.
So, is launching an app a good idea for your small business?  It all comes down to: What do you want?  Apps for a small business can be boiled down to three varieties.  They either, supply information, increase exposure, or deepen consumer loyalty.

We live in the information age.  An app can supply information about your products and services.  In planning on making a purchase, knowing is half the battle.

Increasing exposure is similar, but differs in one important way: exposure is just getting eyeballs on your company.  It doesn’t have to provide any information.  It only needs to grab someone’s attention.

Finally, there are a variety of apps that deepen consumer loyalty.  Rewards, promotions, heads up on special offers all fall under the purview of enhancing loyalty.  The best of such apps create almost the air of mystic around the perspective customer.

When choosing a pre-made or designing an app for your business be sure to make sure that it favors at least one of these categories.

BYOD: Reining in the Cost

We over here in tech land have often extolled the virtues of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Allowing your employees a certain modicum of freedom can go a long way in increasing their comfort and productivity.  However, this relatively new business practice can come with unforeseen costs.

Originally, the phenomenon was coined the consumeration of enterprise.  It was intended for high level executives only.  But as the practice spread, a few companies, like Network Sourcing Advisors, began to feel the pinch.

How can a practice that requires employees to buy their own equipment with their own money eat at the bottom line?  Well, taking smartphones as an example the costs are usually hidden, but rest assured, they will rear their ugly heads.

With Network Sourcing Advisors, it began with transition costs.  They had company-issued smartphones, but those all had to get shelved.  Those employees that didn’t have their own smartphones were upset.  Those that did, had to learn how to use them in accordance to companies policies.  Network Sourcing Advisors ended up $300,000 over-budget to bring 600 personnel up to speed.

Also, take the publisher Slate for example.  The company began subsidizing their employees devices.  To make sure that all their employees are up-to-date using the most efficient data plans, they estimate that they shoulder about $1,020 a year per employee.  They do this because the cost is tax deductible.  And of course, the benefit to the employee.

We’ve covered some of these bases before.  However, until now we’ve lacked concrete numbers.  And as always, whenever considering such an ambitious IT project, one should consider augmenting their staff in order to make things run more smoothly.


Will Outage Hurt GoDaddy Where Activists Failed?

Hundreds of thousands of website owners and administrators found themselves feverishly refreshing their browsers Monday after GoDaddy’s servers went dark.

Now, GoDaddy is fighting to convince the public that the outage was the result of internal problems, not a hack by Anonymous Collective activists. But the bigger question may be, will the annoyance users experienced Monday convince users to go elsewhere for their web hosting?

GoDaddy, famous for its racy Superbowl commercials, is responsible for a whopping 32 percent of domain name registrations around the world. That’s more than 30 million domains.

But the company has come under fire for free speech issues and, particularly, for its support of the much-disliked Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Some high-profile clients, including Wikipedia, pulled their business from GoDaddy over that issue.

Overall, though, as Drew Bowling noted at WebProNews, the issue didn’t make a dent in the company’s market share.

Of course, many clients who don’t care much about issues like SOPA might be more upset by losing their websites for a day. It isn’t the first time GoDaddy has gone offline, either. Then again, all servers go down now and then, whether because of electrical storms or hackers. Businesses that really depend on never experiencing downtime know they need to have redundant or backup systems in place.

If customers want to go elsewhere for domain registration and hosting, GoDaddy has plenty of competitors, but so far none of them approach it in popularity.

Of course, if GoDaddy was really taken down by a hack, and if it ends up getting targeted repeatedly, things could change. But there’s no real reason to expect that. The company insists the trouble on Monday was all about an internal glitch that corrupted its router data tables.

Even if they’re wrong, it’s not clear that hacks will continue. The closest the supposed hacker, who used the Twitter handle @AnonymousOwn3r, came to explaining himself was a post saying, “I’m taking godaddy down bacause well i’d like to test how the cyber security is safe and for more reasons that i can not talk now .” Not really a clear enough message for site owners to base any decisions on.

Article first published as Will Outage Hurt GoDaddy Where Activists Failed? on Technorati.

To Adopt or Not Adopt?

It’s coming out next week, next month!  Are you going to get it?  What is it?  It’s anything.  Whenever a new technology comes out, a business or individual needs to decide if it’s worth trying out.  Here are some pros and cons for those on the fence.


  1. Some companies offer early adopter incentives such as an introductory price.
  2. Your company can get into the position of being an expert in said technology.  If you get your hands on it first, customers and friends will come to you for advice about it.
  3. Priority recognition.  This usually goes for adopting new websites.  Early adopters get the first pick of user or profile names.  It’s nice to be business A rather than business A1236.


  1. Devoting resources to research can take a big chunk out of your budget.  Since there are no reviews to go on, you’ll have to find someone who knows something about the context of the technology.  It’s nice if you have a reliable IT consultant on hand, but if you don’t that can get expensive.
  2. New products can be riddled with flaws.  Do you remember when the iPhone 4 came out?  It dropped calls when you squeezed it too hard.  Maybe the company that makes the problem fixes it for free, or maybe they file for bankruptcy.
  3. Something better could come along on the heels of whatever you just adopted.  The great often stand on the shoulders of the unknown.  A company could create technology only to have another company make a better version a month later.  Does anyone remember who made the Orion, the first laptop?  I certainly don’t.

Is it better to adopt a new technology or wait and see?  You decide.

Meet Josh Mindes, Tech Engineer

Josh Mindes

Josh Mindes

Josh Mindes is brand new to, with just a few weeks on the job, but he’s jumped in with both feet. Working in tech support, he pulls clients’ tickets and gets to work addressing their problems.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I was really into gaming and computers,” he said.

An uncle who worked in IT introduced him to the field, and he took to it quickly, ending up with a degree in engineering and then several years of work in technology.

Josh, who’s 26 now, said he’s getting to know’s clients, reading tickets as they come in and then looking up documentation on the companies’ histories. He’s also glad to have approachable colleagues who can help him out and share the tricks they’ve learned.

“We take our work seriously, but there’s time to have some fun,” he said. “People gladly help you out.”

Josh said some of the client issues he deals with are simpler than others. One ticket was from an office worker whose screen was suddenly upside-down. That took less than a minute on the phone to solve.

“I called and told her ‘control, alt, up key,’” he said.

Other times, Josh said, he has to work with outside vendors like Quickbooks and Apple to resolve clients’ problems. When one woman had an issue with her Apple computer, he said, instead of just referring her to Apple’s support team, he called the computer company himself and conference her in.

“I just didn’t want to leave her hanging,” he said.

Outside the office, Josh has an active social life. He’s signed up for a Boston softball club starting in August, and he’s looking for other chances to play sports. He also plays music with friends, and he loves going out to eat.

“I’m always at a new restaurant,” he said.

Meet Rob Zinger, Manger of Systems Engineering

ZingerIf you’ve ever been part of a company that has adopted a new email or phone system, you know that these kinds of transitions rarely happen without stress on everyone’s part.

Rob Zinger knows it too. As manager of systems engineering at, he manages major projects like that, and he’s figured out some ways to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. First, Rob makes sure that everyone’s on the same page, and that there’s a liaison at the client company who can quickly relay any issues workers there are experiencing.

“Just through experience we kind of put together what we see as a good game plan,” he said.

It helps that Rob, and his colleagues, stay on top of changes in the technical realm. He said that’s something that comes partly from having a good background in computer systems, but even more from learning new things on the job every day.

“There’s always something interesting,” Rob said. “Once you think you know it all, your knowledge could become useless really fast.”

Rob said he’s learned a lot since joining as one of the IT consulting firm’s first employees five years ago. He now finds it easy to think not just about specific issues with networks or servers but about the big picture—how all sorts of technology combine to keep his clients’ offices working at their most productive.

Rob said he first got interested in computers not out of a particular love of video games or software but because he enjoyed the nuts and bolts of electronics.

“I always liked assembling things, seeing how they work,” he said. “That’s what interests me.”

These days, he said, since he spends all day on computers at work, he hardly ever touches one on his off-time. Instead, he works out, golfs, fishes and spends time with friends. He’s a fan of the Celtics and the New England Patriots, though not so much the Red Sox since Pedro Martinez left.

“I’m very lucky to have witnessed that era in baseball,” he said.

Another thing Rob loves is thinking on his feet, and picking up new skills all the time.

“As soon as you think you know everything, you get yourself in trouble,” he said.

Make-Believe Reality

Imagine that you’re in the middle of the desert. The dunes stretch forever in every direction. There, on the edge of your vision you see a shimmer. Every fiber in your being tingles with the hope that you might find a reprieve against this endless assault by nature. Alas, it’s not a mirage it’s Microsoft’s new augment reality device, the Miragetable. In Austin, Texas, Microsoft unveiled its latest invention. The Miragetable projects images onto a warped piece of plastic. Cameras adjust the depth of images based on the user’s gaze. The device allows people to share tabletop experiences like showing off sketches and models. It has a lot of problems like rendering and texture issues. But it’s another step into the world of augmented reality. These are technologies that help bridge the gap between the digital and real worlds. Actually, the term real world is rapidly eroding.

Why does reality even need augmenting? Of course it’s not needed. It could be argued that we spend too much time plugged into devices and isolated even in public places. However, on the other hand, it could give one an edge. Imagine you’re working to work and you’re wearing Google Glasses. Your friend texts you that an ice cream truck has broken down on Bolyston Street and the driver is giving away free ice cream rather than watching it melt. The glasses analyze the message and display pertinent information like a map to the said location. You say a few commands and the glasses access a network of other maps and public transportation schedules. That way you can get you free ice cream and get to work on time. Nice.

That’s what life is about, right? Maybe it isn’t. Maybe all this sharing, networking, and connectivity is bad for our health. But once it gives someone an advantage. Once it makes an IT consultant more efficient or a first responder a greater chance of saving a life, augmented reality will stick.