Why Do Systems (Tend To) Fail on Monday

You wake up an 06:30, after a full relaxing (but somehow late ending) Sunday. You rush into your car and start commuting. The traffic lights system is annoyingly slow, delaying your usually course to the office. Some traffic lights are broken. No way you could shop for a drink at your favorite coffee shop – the queues are way too long this early on the week start. You get to the office – then you circle around 10 more minutes as usually to find a parking place.
When you get (finally) in front of your desk, the usual ERP interface starts 10 seconds later. The OS seems also very slow – lots of software updates pop up and urge you to restart your computer, and the office WiFi connection is painfully slow. Everybody’s running around in meetings and even the urgent “to do’s” are postponed. And the list can go on for pages.
What really happens on Monday mornings with our emails, sales organisations, computers and organizations? Why is everything so slow?
The answer came to me several weeks ago, when I was reading a piece of news regarding Netflix: it said that during prime time, when the highest-watched new episodes of their TV shows are aired, Netflix accounts for almost 40% of the bandwidth (or internet traffic) in the US. Which causes huge slowdowns in the internet traffic, to such an extent that some mobile operators even sued the company for over-using the internet infrastructure.
And this of course explains why Monday mornings are causing most of the work or human-used systems to slow down: the traffic is huge, be it the need to buy coffee, the urgency of having some products delivered or the high adrenaline of the organizations trying to get massive tasks done. Systems are usually designed to cope with normal loads (in terms of users, requests or processing other types of resources or information). They are NOT designed to cope with double the traffic during peaks. Read more

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    How To Kick-Start Your Multi-Country Finance Management Career

    wpid-IMAG2654.jpg You are a good country finance director or head of finance. You have a stable department, the knowledge of the local systems and legislations, and you have been very successful in this role for quite a while. Your multinational company is very happy with your financial directorship – the operating income flows are steady, your reporting is on time, subordinates act professionally and are satisfied with their jobs. And then you wonder – what is next for me? How can I do more? What is coming next in my career in multinational finance management?
    You of course know the answer: the next natural career step is to take on a role in multi-country financial management. The usual path leads to a cluster or regional controller (or finance director) role. You should be heppy with that, since it gives you the chance to expand your financial management skills at multi-country level, as well as to embark on a path of multic-cultural and complex corporate finance learning.
    There are also lots of questions – and the successful country finance directors are usually unsettled by them:

    a) What does the new role require from me in terms of skills, experience, interactions?
    b) How do I cope with the new role and the pressures associated?
    c) How do I manage not one, but multiple legal entities/countries – whilst keeping the same success levels as in the past?
    d) When do I start and where do I stop? etc

    It is hard to answer all these questions in a short blog post such as this one, however – I will give you here some practical (and theory based) insights on how you can become a successful regional finance manager/director quickly and with little associated stress: Read more

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      “The Battle of Bretton Woods”, by Benn Steil – A Book Review

      To be fair, the complete name of the book is “The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order”. This title kind of raises the expectations, doesn’t it?

      Bretton Woods is, for most people outside of the economics field, just one of those expressions that specialists use to drive others away. It is the kind of expression mentioned when somebody needs to describe the redefinition of the economical order – or even more, the redesign of a financial system. Sounds like a big thing – and it actually is – Bretton Woods represented, in the aftermath of the 2nd world war, the place were the winning nations redesigned the monetary system and shaped what we have today in terms of financial flows globalization.

      But don’t get me wrong – “The Battle of Bretton Woods” tells the story of the story, not of the technicalities behind. In retrospective, most historical decisions look usually logical and inevitable. The best history books, such as this one, do justice to the topic and show how intrigues and rivalries between the leading nations shaped the history at that moment. And boy, this was history – in this middle town of new Hampshire the dollar would become, after many strenuous battles, the currency of choice for international trade. This choice propelled US at the nexus of the modern economy, making it noit only the most powerful economy in the world, but also its guardian of choice. “The Battle of Bretton Woods”  how US became the biggest creditor nation, how the US banks started to do deals with other governments, why the international trade still takes place mostly in dollars – and so on. Many reasons just to read it, right? Read more

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        Passive income sources

        Today (yes, on the Christmas Day). I gave a search on my IPhone 5S for passive income apps. I wanted to see if there is any chance to make money in an automated way.
        Well, you probably know the answer. If The Holy Grail would exist, somebody would find a way to sell 1M copies of it. Online. So all I found were hundreds of apps that begged for my money to show me the path. No, thanks. What was I thinking of? :)

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          Seasonal Greetings Vienna

          Christmas is approaching again – and it is time to think of the beloved ones and of what makes life beautiful…

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            “Why Can Dead Do Such Great Things?” – by Robert Bartlett – a Book Review

             Christmas is near – less than two weeks to go. And I think there comes no better time of the year to meditate about the sacred things – what makes us believe in God, what drives us ahead, why we are here. It is not that we should be more religious then we are. In the heat of our daily lives, when we run for better career prospects, increased ROIs, higher incomes, we tend to forget that other things are important.

            So I decided to read laterally and do several different book reviews. The first one relates to a book called “Why Can Dead Do Such Great Things? – Saints and Worshippers from the Martyrs to the Reformation”, by Robert Bartlett. You can hardly find a tome better suited to the Christmas period, I guess. First of all, it is a book about one of the most distinct features of the Christian religion – the veneration of saints. Secondly, “Why Can Dead Do Such Great Things?” is an academic book – it approaches the subject from a research angle. Thirdly – the book is quite impressive in appearance in writing – more on this below J. Read more

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              “Six Simple Rules” – A Book Review for a HBR Press Title

              If there is one thing that is increasing in the modern working world, this is the entropy. Which has as synonym, among other words, “complexity”. The authors of “Six Simple Rules – How to Manage Complexity Without Getting Complicated” (Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman) have embarked on a journey to do just that. And they accomplished to write a fine book.
              Both seniors in the Boston Consulting Group, the authors are seasoned warriors in this “untangling the clients’ businesses” field. This might be just the smallest reason why they embarked on creating a handbook on how to efficiently manage your business from a strategic and de-complexing level. The biggest one is that they seem to be “ideas entrepreneurs” – the kind of persons who see an opportunity to improve things via a new approach or idea – and they just go for it.
              And here’s how “Six Simple Rules – How to Manage Complexity Without Getting Complicated” proposes to do: Read more

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