Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Will Gazprom have the fate of Kodak?

If you have not seen this TED talk from Al Gore about the Climate Crisis then I would recommend it. Surprisingly optimistic!

Al Gore makes the point that we can be optimistic because renewable energy solutions are on the verge of becoming cheaper than fossil energy solutions. Is the situation in the energy sector similar to the situation with film and digital photography in the beginning of the 21st century? I would be optimistic and say Yes. Here are some arguments I would like to add to this discussion:

- When comparing fossil and solar-wind energy then besides the cost of the energy production it is also important to note the costs of grid. As most of us can read from their energy bill the grid costs stand for more than 2/3 of the whole cost - with the current low energy prices. Grid companies are usually huge monopolies, powerlines are expensive and therefore the costs of the grid will not go down. However, with a solar-wind-wood production unit and a battery one can get off-grid and skip the costs. It is definitely the winning solution in places where there is no grid.

- Price decrease of solar, wind production units and batteries has been linear if not exponential. We always underestimate exponential progress.

- If usage of renewable energy grows on the expense of fossil energy then soon the fossil fuel installations start becoming more expensive per kW and support of the technology exclusive. Think buying a film camera and finding a studio to print photos from films in 2016.

- Fossil fuel energy production is really expensive. Think of the huge infrastructure, tankers, pipelines and so on. If we would add to that the costs of the environment, land and water used....well then there would not be a business case in it at all.

So if the turn-around from fossil to renewable happens fast enough then there is maybe hope afterall. And investing in the oil industry or in the East-Estonian "cooking oil from oil shale with no care of the environment" is something one should consider with big skepticism.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A radical idea about public TV

TV business like all media business is in the middle of a big shift and the players in the market need to adapt.
Public TV (like YLE in Finland, SVT in Sweden or ERR in Estonia) serves a mission in our societies and is key in supporting democracy and culture. To keep up with this and provide un-biased information the public TV programs should have good news, debate programs, documentaries and similar. On the other side thanks to the decline of linear TV it is soon no longer necessary to fill the whole day with a program and it will be enough to just publish news and programs. This means that the public TV-s can skip showing movies, shows, series and entertainment. I would actually say that showing entertainment on public TV serves no purpose on supporting democracy and therefore can be considered as unfair competition to the private TV channels. Is should be stopped. We should stop spending taxpayers money on entertainment on public TV and stop competing with the private channels with, in essence, governmental dumping.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Dangers of using SCRUM, Process management and especially RACI model

I have seen and been involved in designing processes and writing role descriptions in different organisations. Sometimes the work is really concrete and useful, sometimes it can become really high-level and filosofical.....time consuming, expensive and restricting. Here are some comments I would like to make on the issue:

-The level of detail needed in the models indicates how bad the relations and teamwork are in your teams. If it is on the level of "I take care of the technology and all around it" then you have a good team.

- Detailed and popular models like SCRUM and SAFe are necessary in teams where there are new members and or members from different organizations or cultures. The familiar methods make co-working easier when there is no time to build trust.

- Detailed role definitions and methodologies are dangerous. Even the most detailed descriptions and models do not take into account all the possible scenarios and it can easily happen that everyone does their tasks perfectly, but the system goes down or the development does not deliver. (MOKK - Minu osas kõik on korras / Minun osaltani kaikki on kunnossa)

- Detailed process models and role descriptions turn organizations into bee-hives: very effective in a status quo environment doing the same thing over and over again, but totally unable to adjust if change is needed.....and change as you know is a constant in modern business.