• ‘MEETINGS’ WHICH CONSUME SUBSTANTIAL WORK TIME OF EXECS, MANAGERS AND PROFESSIONALS are quite often ineffective, when sensible decision-making gets obstructed by inherent biases in the behavior of participants. Their influences include: (1) a ‘Halo Effect’ when one idea or argument gains appeal from polished presentation or attractiveness of the speaker; (2) ‘First-mover Advantage’ when early information becomes ‘anchored,’ irrespective of its relevance; (3) Participants more concerned with reputation for looking competent than with making good choices “suppress comments for fear others will think them foolish… or put too much weight on what is public knowledge, whether or not there is any discussion” in order to avoid disagreement.  Latest research suggests that committee meetings can be more effective when “every participant writes a brief summary of their position, circulated prior to the discussion… when first speakers are picked at random or in order of lowest seniority… and by encouraging & rewarding disagreement, to offset the personal costs of discord.”  [THE ECONOMIST – April 4, 15]
  • THE LATEST BUSINESS CYBERTHEFT SCAM: a sophisticated combination of phishing, malware and phone calls hitting U.S. companies. According to IBM security researchers, Eastern European criminals send spam email with a malware attachment which “waits until it recognizes that the user is navigating to a bank website, then instantly creates a fake screen which says the site is having problems and instructs to call a phone number which is answered by an English-speaking operator, who elicits (to ‘verify’) banking details and immediately starts a wire transfer of funds.” Once the transfer is complete, criminals may also hit the victim company with a ‘denial of service’ attack – essentially freezing web activities to prolong discovery of the fraud. Cybercrime is increasing exponentially. DCG can help you with security strategies to best avoid catastrophe.  [REUTERS – Apr 2, 15]
  • UP TO FIVE-BILLION NEW CONSUMERS WHO HAVE NEVER “purchased, uploaded, or invented and sold anything are about to come online and provide a mega-surge to the global economy” within the next five years. Most are in China, India & Africa without internet connection today, but four technologies are converging toward this objective: (1) FaceBook has announced a plan to “connect the world with unmanned aircraft that can beam access down with lasers… from aircraft weighing less than a car, powered by solar panels and able to stay at altitudes more than 60,000 feet for months at a time”; (2) Google is developing a network of thousands of wind-controlled balloons on the edge of space, enabling “direct connection to phones and other LTE-enabled devices”; (3) SpaceX plans toward a launch of some 700 small satellites focusing on communications systems to serve rural and developing areas; and (4) Virgin Group jointly with Qualcomm propose a “massive constellation” of some 650 Satellites starting launch within two years along their pre-exiting “globally harmonized spectrum.” [PETER DIAMANDIS.COM – Apr 5,15]
  • “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT MINORS WHO CONTINUE SNEAKING INTO THE U.S.” no longer need to sneak. A free flight from Central America, with “resettlement assistance and permanent residency is now open to as many people as possible.” The newest White House initiative (rebranded from the Unaccompanied Alien Children moniker to now ‘Central American Minors’) treats kids from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras who are under age 21 to “special ‘refugee parole’ status which also provides free education, food stamps, medical care and living expenses… based on applications from parents who are already in the America as a permanent resident, parolee or beneficiary of Obama’s recent amnesty or deferred action. The only out-of-pocket cost is for a DNA test to assure the child belongs to applicant, reimbursable if the result is positive.” [JUDICIALWATCH.ORG – Apr 1,15]
  • LIKE ALL OTHER FORMS OF CYBERCRIME, ‘RANSOMWARE ‘ IS INCREASING – malware which “holds your data ‘hostage’ by encrypting it and requiring payment (ransom) to get it released – and causing havoc in the workplace.”  Understandable paranoia about losing data including intellectual property, about reputational risk, and especially for service firms about ‘downtime,’ has created a climate where payouts (to the criminals for decrypting data) are becoming more routine. “No matter how secure a system is, the end users are the last line of defense; without knowledge & training, systems can be compromised.” Some of the simplest user rules – like watching for phishing emails and not opening URL links or attachments (especially .exe files within zip or compressed files, or Word/Excel files containing macros)– can be easily taught to personnel. DCG can help. [LAW TECH NEWS – Apr 15]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:  “Three hours is the time horizon for medically treating a stroke victim back to optimal recovery. “TASS” are the symptoms to identify – look for abnormality in TONGUE, ARMS raised, SMILE or SPEECH.

For a comprehensive, albeit depressing, picture of “Obama’s Iran Strategy”: http://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2015/02/obamas-secret-iran-strategy