If Success Is A Given, You’re Too Late

If you are sure that something will be a success, you have missed an opportunity. Risk and opportunity are opposite sides of the same coin. In the context of this post, we define opportunity as the chance to do or become something better than yesterday.

If you are entirely sure that some action will be successful, then there is no additional opportunity there. You don’t have any risk, and the benefit curve will drive to zero. There are many situations that you may think of where you feel that there seems to be a lot of opportunities, but no risk. For example, you might think about a job. You might feel that there is no risk to losing your job, but that there is an opportunity because you are making a paycheque. You are earning a paycheque, but you always risk getting fired, restructured into a job that you don’t like, or lose your ability to do the job. These risks offset the opportunity that you have to make a difference in your workplace. The risk/opportunity balance is highlighted as you increase in responsibility. The more responsibility, the more likely you are to have to conform to the job requirements. The less sure you are that you will be successful. At the same time, there is a greater opportunity to make a difference and to increase your paycheque.

Another example of risk and opportunity is heart surgery. You may go for the sure-thing heart surgery. There is a minimal (relative to other options) chance that the operation will fail. The risk is small, and the opportunity is that your life will be saved. But if you are offered a new cutting edge surgery, you will have to consider a higher risk of dying. But with the higher risk comes the more significant opportunity. If the surgery is successful or not, you could serve science, and what surgeons learn could save thousands of lives.

Today I am releasing something that is not a sure thing. Earlier in January 2019, I posted about a project inbox minimum viable product(MVP.) I also talked about the plan to deliver the MVP. Today you can see the MVP and sign up to get on the customer list. Risk and opportunity: choose the opportunity, embrace the corresponding risk.

Check out the Project Inbox MVP here.

What About My Documents?

Do you ever find yourself working with someone else and you have to share a document back-and-forth, and after a while you don’t know which one is the most recent? And then you don’t know who the last person was to make changes, or if you are working on the right one, or if your previous changes are even captured in the latest on e that was just sent by email? And then there is the file that is saved on the Q:, F:, and L: drives that all have an identical name. Which one of those is the one that you are supposed to be using?

A lot of work has been done to help people solve the problem of tracking what happens to your documents. Some companies use Sharepoint, other companies have different document management tools. But a lot of companies don’t have any formal infrastructure for document management. This means that documents are emailed and saved to shared drives as a way of transferring and sharing files.

What if there was a product that:

  1. Traces where the document you are working on comes from.
  2. Shows you the history attributes of the document (who changed it when, what it was changed to, where that version of the document is currently stored)
  3. Is extremely accurate and easily accessible.
  4. Fits in with your everyday work, no additional work needed.

I would like to float an idea for a new product. Blockchain is a way of keeping a record of actions in a way that is easily verifiable with a very strong record of the action’s history. In this case the action would be the creation and changing of a document. The product that I am proposing would:

  • Keep a record of documents that are created or changed. When the document is sent to another user, they would continue on the blockchain record so that you would know what has happened to the document.
  • Provide a dashboard to know where the file was, and when it had been changed last. The dashboard would also provide an a path to the file so that you would know where the changed file was.
  • Not require a central database of document tracking because the blockchain records would be distributed across the internal network of the organization. (Or perhaps internal and designated external network locations.)

With the ability to track documents using a blockchain approach across all of your computers on your network, you would be able to always know where a document was, what the status is, and who has ownership, or eyes-on, the document. The permissions to the document would still be governed by the user’s ability to access the document.

This product would solve my problems of chasing documents. I wonder if anyone else would find it useful.