Rest In Peace, IE

It’s been in the cards for ages, but now it’s official: Internet Explorer (IE) will be retired in June 2022.

Most people have long since moved on. And for good reason(s). But many businesses still have some legacy tools that for some silly reason loves IE more than anything else. They will now need to find a new object of their affection.

The reason why I wanted to briefly touch on it here is not for what is happening now but for what IE has meant to the world, to Microsoft – and to me.

For the world, IE was the first way many people got on the internet. Yes, you could argue there were always better, more sexy options. But the inclusion of IE in the Windows operating system effectively made it a no-brainer for consumers to use the browser. Which could again be seen by it’s market dominance for years.

Love it or hate it. There are many ways to make your mark. And IE certainly did that with millions and millions of people.

For Microsoft it also had tremendous importance – if for all the wrong reasons. It allowed the company to steam (late) into the digital era, and it was also the most important source of the anti-trust case filed by DOJ that out then CEO Bill Gates through his most excruciating interview ever (and no, he did not do well in that), and almost broke the company up.

How’s that for impact, huh?

For me personally, IE also played a pivotal role in my professional life. When I started out at MSN.dk in the autumn of 2000, our homepage was the standard homepage in IE and as such, we got a lot of traffic from it.

I honestly can’t count the number of times, I have received abuse and pointed remarks from competitors about the unfair advantage, they thought we had, and how we – in their eyes – ‘cheated’.

Of course we didn’t, and the only effect the criticism had on us was to motivate us to do even better and go and create some of the most popular content verticals on the Danish part of the internet, IRRESPECTIVE of the IE homepage.

We managed to build leading verticals within entertainment and lifestyle for both men and women with great local partners. And with that and more most certainly the most profitable display driven advertising business in the Danish media market with margins, our competitors couldn’t even dream of.

It was good times.

So for me, IE was a net positive. It helped me discover the internet, it provided an opportunity to join one of the coolest companies on the planet (which I am eternally grateful for), and it allowed our team to build a digital media business that was second-to-none in it’s time.

Rest In Peace, IE.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

The future of work, postponed

Flextribe, a Danish recruitment startup, wants to connect freelancers with deep subject matter expertise, who doesn’t necessarily want a full time position, with corporations who need said expertise but can struggle in attracting the necessary talent for the before mentioned reason; they don’t want to be employed.

Simple. But the Future of Work?

I am not so sure.

I mean, I like the concept. I really do. I see it very much as a flexible but quite focused low-touch agency; you put up your profile yourself, define your your hourly rates, and then you basically bet that there will either be interesting assignments up for grabs or that some potential client contacts you through the platform, and sweet music arises from the interaction.

If the solution can help the individual consultant sell his or her services, I am all for it. Having been a consultant myself, the constant need to sell your next project and basically make a living from it can be extremely stressful.

But is it the Future of Work?

I still doubt it.

First of all, I don’t think it’s for everybody to be a freelancer. It can sound so nice, easy and flexible, but in reality it is super hard work, and many people are just not cut out from it.

And at the same time I am on the fence about creating a model based on ‘the best of the best’.

Two questions immediately come to mind: One, how do you really vet it, so your promise to your clients holds true. And two – and most importantly – who are going to make the purchase decision?

The last thing is key. Because let’s look at a couple of archetypes that we normally find in corporations, and who are perhaps more skilled than most:

There are the ones who have the skills and experience and wants to achieve things by doing the right things that can really move the organization forward. Those are the ones who start out with huge ambition, gets disillusioned by corporate BS and end up leaving to join something like Flextribe instead.

And then there are the ones who have the skills and experience but more than anything else wants to climb the corporate ladder – fast. These are the ones who will most often be in a middle management position and thus buying the services of Flextribe.

Now it becomes interesting.

Will this latter group be inclined to buy into a value proposition claiming that all the best people are outside your organization? Which camp does this put this career ambitious middle manager in? The next best group, or what?

If that career minded person has already climbed the ladder a bit, he will know that the last thing he wants to do is to look stupid or out of his depth. He can choose to be brave, hire freelancers to help him accomplish the KPIs he himself has promised to deliver to upper management. Or he can choose to try to find some way of wiggling himself out of it using some typical corporate bureaucracy related excuse.

Most often he will chose the latter, as it is the least risky part. And talking himself out of potential trouble by framing the conversation to suit his own agenda is a key skill anyway for really skillful corporate climbers.

So what are we left with if this is the new Future of Work?

First of all an abundance of freelancers where ultimately it will be hard to find the best fit for the projects that will no doubt be there and require assistance. The opportunity for overpromising and underdelivering for these freelancers is huge.

Second, you will have corporations that will potentially be even more void of the required talent and expertise, and where more time will be spent reframing the conversation and casting blame rather than actually ensure that big, important projects gets decided, funded and done.

Of course this is not going to be sustainable and at some point there will be a backlash, and we will find a better way, aka the Future of Work, which is based on our experience of how not to go about organizing these things.

I am just not confident we have reached that point yet.

But I wish Flextribe and all other services like it the best of success in their endeavors.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Become (sort of) a journalist

A day doesn’t go by without someone deeply questioning the value of higher education. It’s the cost, it’s the hazzle, it’s the time wasted on subjects you never get to use etc.

And a day doesn’t go by without young people feeling anxious about making the right choices for their education and subsequent careers. Because how do you make sure, you have got it right? That you can make your interest and passion pay your bills?

I have one cowboy trick for you:

Study to become a journalist (if you can get it, of course).

Don’t listen to all the people saying that there are no jobs to be had in the media industry.

First of all, there are, they are just more fragmented than ever and not in the usual places.

But second – and most importantly of all – an education in journalism can lead to whatever you want it to lead to.

I am the perfect example of that; I have been a journalist by education since 1999, yet has still to work as a traditional one in a newsroom.

But what I have done instead is to use some of the skills that I have in my genes and I learned to control more during my education;

My curiosity for asking questions. And ask again and again.

My determination to get to the bottom of something and not take ‘No’ for an answer.

My thirst for knowledge.

My passion for trying to connect all the dots.

My instinct to cut to the chase and settle on an angle.

My talent for communication and presenting the story.

When you have those things and you study to get better and better at them, you can apply these skills anywhere. Especially in todays world, where noise is amplified, and signal often gets lost in translation.

Studying to become a journalist is not a one-way street; it’s more of a giant roundabout with plenty of exit options in different directions utilizing the skills, you learned.

So if you want to take a safe punt, go and study to become a journalist.

It just might help make big things happen for you later on.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Circle kind of complete

One of the things, others can never take away from you is your past experience(s).

They are completely yours. Yours to cherish. Yours to curse. Yours to learn from. Yours to channel into something new.

I have often wondered why things happen. Why do you meet the people, you do? Why do you get the job offers you do? Why do you end up with the career, you do? Is it all part of a plan or does it just happen.

I am mostly in the latter camp. There is no connection between what I imagined myself doing 25 years ago and what I ended up doing and the places I went to work.

Until now.

Because as I am working hard to build a strong set of foundations for our new medtech startup, some of my past experiences are coming back into play. Experiences I didn’t know what I could use for back then, but where it has become blatantly obvious, how I can bring them to bear now.

I am not a big believer in anything except what I can see, hear, feel, taste and smell. But to the extend there is something more out there, I am enclined to say that right about now it is starting to dawn on me, why I did the things I did during my career;

Why I spent time working for the Danish Diabetes Foundation as my very first job fresh out of journalism school.

Why I spent time doing licensing and R&D deals for Microsoft Business Solutions.

Why I spent time in business management at Microsoft.

Why I spent a lot of time doing recruiting and getting both the team, roles and culture right at Berlingske Digital.

And so on. And so on.

The only thing I knew 25 years back – and before – was that one day I wanted to try to create something new that could benefit a lot of people.

Fast forward to today, and I am trying to follow up on that passion using the wealth of experiences, I gained over the years. I wouldn’t say the circle is being completed, but it sort of feels like that.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)