What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From This 700-Person Study on Courage and Motivation

Recently, I found some support for this view from an unusual quarter: A study that analyzed the actions of non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Adam Grant references the study, conducted by two sociologists after World War II, in his excellent book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

In the study, the authors called this group of non-Jews “rescuers.” They called a similar group of non-Jews who did not try to save anyone “non-rescuers.” The study revealed that what ultimately differentiated the rescuers from the non-rescuers was how their parents had disciplined bad behavior and praised good behavior.

When the rescuers were asked to recall their childhoods and the discipline they received, the word they used most was “explained.” Their parents had focused on the why behind disciplinary actions–providing moral lessons rather than simply punishment.

Grant notes that by explaining moral principles, the parents of those in the rescuer group had given their children an appreciation of the importance of complying voluntarily with rules that align with critical values and of questioning rules that don’t. They had succeeded in encouraging critical thinking and reasoning in their children.

The result? The rescuers were almost three times more likely to reference moral values that applied to all people, emphasizing that their parents taught them to respect all human beings. There was no rule they were following that prescribed helping victims of persecution–but they rescued Jews anyway.

Strong values are much more effective at eliciting positive outcomes and behaviors than rules.

I’ve found that this principle applies as well to business as it does to parenting. Values are critical for helping team members make thoughtful, sound decisions. They are also adaptable: Values can cover hundreds, if not thousands, of situations.

At the core, values are about who we want to be, not just what we want to do in some specific situation. For example, in one study Grant wrote about in a New York Times article, researchers found that children who were asked to be “helpers” instead of “to help” were more likely to clean up toys when asked. In another study, adults who were told, “Please don’t be a cheater,” cheated 50 percent less than those who were told, “Please don’t cheat.”

Rules, in contrast, often feel arbitrary and can quickly become outdated. It’s also virtually impossible to create rules that cover all possible behaviors or to monitor adherence.

Highly successful families, organizations and companies therefore select and focus on a few values that are most important to them. They explain the why informing those values and thoughtfully reinforce the standards they set. People are held accountable for not meeting standards and celebrated for behaviors that support those values.

At Acceleration Partners, our core values are: own it, embrace relationships, and excel and improve. These values inform every process in the company, from hiring to strategy. And we reinforce our core values through check-ins, company shout-outs and end-of-year “Core Value Awards,” which are voted on by peers. When a decision needs to me made and there is no clear guideline, we expect employees to turn to our values to find their answer.

This approach encourages team members to openly question decisions or actions that appear inconsistent with our values. And that, in turn, teaches something important–both to our company and the people who comprise it: Enforcement should not be a top-down process, but something facilitated by all members of the group.

At the end of the day, values will always trump rules when it comes to encouraging behaviors and attitudes that are conducive to success and personal accountability. The data is clear-and so is history.

Google Roundup: Five New Features And Enhancements For Google's Apps

What’s new for Google’s apps and devices.Credit: Alexas Photos/Pixabay

Google is always modifying its apps and devices with upgrades and new features. The pace of change is so relentless that trying to keep track can be overwhelming. In case you missed them, here are some of the best new features Google introduced this week.

Google’s Clock app teams up with Spotify

You can now wake up to a selection of music from Spotify if you use Google’s Clock app as your morning alarm. Your choices are limited to one of 26 Spotify curated playlists or one of the last 10 things you played yourself. Pray a prankster doesn’t get ahold of your phone and ruin your day with a death metal playlist instead of Spotify’s “Have a Great Day!” that normally wakes you up.

Home adds room-specific controls.Credit: Google

Home adds room-specific controls

Home now lets you control devices in individual rooms which can be very useful for actions like voice controlling lights. Previously, if you said “turn on/off the lights”, the Assistant carried out the action on all the smart lights in the house. Now if you assign lights (or anything else) to rooms and say “turn on the living room lights”, only the lights in the living room come on.

The Assistant responds differently to “Turn on/off the lights” (without a room mentioned) depending on where you are when you issue the command. If you’re in a room that has lights assigned to it, the assistant will only turn on the lights in that room. If you’re in a room with no assigned lights, all the lights in the house will come on.

You can assign smart devices to rooms in the “Control your home” section of the Home app.

The Assistant’s routines can be scheduled

Routines are a useful way to carry out a series of commands that usually follow one another. For example, “Turn on the lights”, “Who won yesterday’s Nationals game?”, “What’s the weather?” and “Play NPR” can be combined in a routine that’s triggered by “Good morning”.  Previously, you had to trigger the command with a spoken phrase. Now you can set it to run automatically on a timed schedule.

To set up a scheduled routine, tap the menu icon (three vertical lines) in the upper left corner of the Home app. Tap More settings > Routines and create a new routine. You can set the days of the week and time of day you want the routine to run, the speaker you want to use if the routine involves audio, and whether you want phone notification when the routine executes. You should be able to include the new room-specific controls in a scheduled routine although I haven’t tested it myself.

Table data now appears in Search results.Credit: Google

Google Search returns examples of tabled data

A well-designed table is a clear and concise way to present certain types of information and many news organizations concerned with countering the flood of purposeful misinformation use them to make reliable data available to readers. Previously, the existence of data tables in an article was hidden from Google Search results. Users had to click through to the article to discover a table. Now, Search results can include an example to alert users that a data table appears in an article.

Enhanced information about events in Search

Search can not only help you become better informed with the inclusion of table data, it can help you have more fun with newly enhanced information about events.  A search string like “events near me” returns a list of local events as it has in the past. Now if you tap one of the events, it opens a page with helpful details about the event such as time, location and ticketing information. You can tap through to a ticket provider, to the event’s website for more info, or to Google Maps for directions. There’s also a share button to make coordinating with friends easier. A “For You” tab organizes events into the categories that Google thinks will interest you along with events that are trending where you live.

If you’re interested in Google, here are some other articles you might enjoy.

Why You Should Watch This Live Show On Yellowstone National Park

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY – JULY 30: A black bear rest in a mixed age forest that partially burned in 1988 on June 30, 2018, in Yellowstone National Park, WY. The fires in 1988 burned 793,800 acres, 39% of Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres. After 30 years most of the parks lodgepole pines destroyed in 1988 have regenerated and are thriving. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)

On Sunday night, 5 August 2018, Yellowstone National Park will be the center of a live broadcast inside of the park in the first of four live TV shows called Yellowstone Live which is produced by Plimsoll Productions and Berman Productions for National Geographic.

Yellowstone Live is an attempt to showcase the natural history and science of the oldest national park in America founded in 1872. Throughout the four live TV shows, the program will have more than 34 live cameras set up over the 2.2 million acre park in the hope they’re able to capture wolves, Grizzly bears or any one of the other 400 animal specials or natural events like Old Faithful. The show will also look cover the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem including Gallatin Mountain Range and Lamar Valley.

The four live shows will be hosted by Josh Elliott, TV journalist and former anchor for Good Morning America. Elliott is joined by Chris Packham, a British broadcaster, and presenter of BBC’s BAFTA award-winning program series, Springwatch, Autumnwatch, and Winterwatch.

The idea of the show is that wherever the excitement is, that’s where the cameras will go. If the ground squirrels are kind of giving it to us on that night, we’re going to be giving you the ground squirrels. But we’re hopeful, to see some alpha predators, because it isn’t often you can see a Grizzly Bear, doing Grizzly Bear things,” said Elliott. “We’re going to be very careful not to promise the audience, ‘you’re going to see wolves, so watch.'”

“From a filming point of view huge sections of the park are still inaccessible,” adds Packham. “The park does a great job of handling the 4.25 million people that visit it each year at the same time, not damage the ecosystem that exists there.”

“Within the park, there’s a great educational connection between animals and humans. Grizzly bears have moved outside of the park, and there is still conflicts with bears and people, and ultimately humans are always going to win unless you shout loudly for the animals. So Yellowstone Live looks at that human/animal conflict which offer a sort of public service information component,” said Packham.

Yellowstone National Park doesn’t allow any drones inside the park boundaries, so this means that the cinemaphotographers had to come up with different ways to capture wildlife.

Some of the technology involved to make this happen throughout the park are thermal cams, a helicopter, a cam ball in a beaver lodge, nine Go-pros, and a fiber optic thermal camera inside of a squirrel burrow.  The thermal cam, called the Magma Cam by the executive producer, Allen Berman, will reveal Yellowstone’s thermal activity. There will also be pre-filmed content in addition to the live streams as well as segments of educational content.

As part of that public service component, the Yellowstone Live team has set up a campsite incorrectly to stage all of the most common mistakes that a typical camper makes. This is being done in conjunction with the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone.

“The Discovery Center has rescued bears that either became too comfortable with humans or that was injured and would not have otherwise survived in the wild but are, in all other aspects, Grizzly bears,” said Elliott. “In our campsite (for Yellowstone Live) we’re going to hang the food too low, leave food strewn about, not hang the trash; we’re going to make it interesting for the viewers and show them live and in real time, what happens when you aren’t respectful of wildlife.”

“Yellowstone is one of the jewels in the crown [..], and I have been reading and learning about Yellowstone since I was a child, reading about it in National Geographic magazines,” said Packham. “If you have an interest in natural history and conservation, environmental care, you have an awareness of Yellowstone. Because the park and the surrounding greater Yellowstone ecosystem are incredibly important. There are very few places left in the northern hemisphere where there is this amount of space and freedom and degree of protection for the things that live there.”

“But, in an over-crowded world where our natural resources are running thin, where our species are ever increasingly imperiled, obviously you know what I’m going to say, I’m going to say we should push the balance to protect those species, ” Packham emphasized. “From an outside perspective, you don’t know what you’ve got here (with Yellowstone) and what you’ve got is absolutely astonishing. And that’s why we (in the UK) are envious. It’s not only astonishing because of the protective value that it offers but also the ability to study it. We’re looking at creatures here which are living in situations which are as natural as it possibly could be and there isn’t a single square meter of the UK where we could claim to be doing that.”

“I still struggle to find beauty in the humans because we disrupt all of those environments and are very often a spanner in the works, as we say, the fly in the ointment,” said Packham. “But the animals and the complexity of that balance, is always going to be beyond our comprehension really. I think we’re close to a turning point, but sometimes you almost have to hit rock bottom before you bounce back.”

Authur Middleton, Ecologist, National Geographic Society Fellow, lead researcher National Geographic’s Beyond Yellowstone works with migratory herds and studies how hoofed mammals – antelope, bison, bighorn sheep mammals, migrate. All those larger animals move considerable distances to meet their needs for reproducing and surviving, and their migration patterns have significant impacts on the landscape. 

“I study those ecological roles, but often this ends up in conflict with people. Most parks in the world are not big enough to contain or sustain their wildlife, so trying to understand how to reduce those conflicts outside the park with people is important,” added Middleton.

“These animals havroles we need to understand. They are natural wonders that you just can’t park your car next. We’ve been trying to go into the backcountry and into the places where this is happening and bring that wonder for people to see,” said Middleton. “Through this Yellowstone Live broadcast, National Geographic can bring the hidden lives of these animals, kind of natural wonder, to an audience e that people like me will never reach otherwise.

“If we want people to keep seeing that wildlife in the park that means people in concentric circles way outside the park need to be positively engaged in many different conservation solutions,” said Middleton. “For migrations, it’s habitat conservation, protections, maybe conservation easements, fencing, retrofits to be wildlife-friendly, road overpasses and underpasses. A scary thing at this time in our country and our world is people are pulling apart. For these animals, we need people to come together. I think [..] this kind of public communication broadcast can help,” added Middleton.

“Yellowstone is always telling a story, and I hope that it can one day be and project the story of how can people find common ground, whatever the issue is, and come together around the set of solutions that works,” said Middleton.  “We can’t just say, let’s just make the park bigger and remove the people. There’s going to be people, so we need to figure out how people can coexist with these creatures.”

Elliott says that aside from hoping to thread needles about nature, science, conservation, and education in Yellowstone Live, the audience gets to see these animals in their natural habitats.

“Yellowstone Live [..] is about appreciating the delicate balance that they strike here, and in national parks around the country and the world, every day, which is conservation and access, and how you ensure that people can enjoy their park but also stay true to the mission. In some instances, that means that the endangered species that live here are allowed to flourish and perhaps get off that list rather than head the other way,” said Elliott.

“I believe that Yellowstone Live is an apolitical broadcast, and will highlight the countless natural wonders that our country holds as well as the fragility that these species face without concerted efforts on their behalf by the other species who can determine whether or not the aforementioned species thrive,” quipped Elliott.

__________

Yellowstone Live airs on August 5, 2018, at 9 pm ET/ 8 pm CT on National Geographic Channel.

Ding! Alibaba office app fuels backlash among some Chinese workers

BEIJING/HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) – In the cramped former home of Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, about thirty young engineers sit elbow-to-elbow, working to attract the next million users for DingTalk, Alibaba’s workplace communication software.

Their installation in the hallowed flat where Ma got his start in the eastern city of Hangzhou reflects DingTalk’s place in the pecking order of the company’s sprawling collection of start-up projects.

Since December 2014, DingTalk has grown exponentially to become the world’s largest chat service designed for companies, with over 100 million individual users and 7 million employers across China. The company says, without providing numbers, that it also has a growing presence in Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia.

But its rapid rise – propelled by a promise to boost productivity through better monitoring of employee movements and faster responses to important messages – has sparked a backlash from Chinese workers who say the app fuels an unhealthy work culture.

That also raises questions about DingTalk’s ability to expand into the West, where people are typically guarded about their workplace privacy. In China, surveillance by the authorities and employers is already common.

Like WhatsApp, DingTalk lets senders see if recipients have read messages, but it also has a “ding” feature that can bombard recipients with repeat notifications, text messages and phone-call reminders.

On top of this original feature, the company has added a wide range of functions that include automatic expense claims, a clock-in system to monitor the whereabouts of employees, as well as a “daily report” function that requires workers to list completed tasks.

As DingTalk has grown, many Chinese office workers have vented their frustrations online about the service, saying it is inhumane and destroys trust.

On Zhihu.com, a question-and-answer website, a thread entitled “how does it feel like to be forced to use DingTalk at work” has more than a thousand posts and has been viewed over 7.7 million times.

An informal Reuters poll of 30 workers using DingTalk showed that about half had negative feelings about the app, while the rest said they were fine with it – often because their companies had not adopted features such as the clock-in function.

“There’s a saying in my circle, that you should quit the day your company installs DingTalk,” said Robert, who works in luxury retail in the northwestern province of Shaanxi and complains that DingTalk has “fragmented his time into pieces”. He declined to provide his surname.

Li Xiaoyang, a former software sales agent in Beijing, said he had to use DingTalk’s geo-location function at his previous firm whenever he met a client, and use a face scanner to verify he was attending meetings.

“I felt so disgusted by it,” he said, adding that he was constantly dinged by managers.

“Every level of management thinks their demand is the top priority and should be dealt with first,” he said. “Even worse, they will ding you through DingTalk even on holiday and you can’t pretend you didn’t see it.”

A company spokesperson said in response to the poll that DingTalk provided an effective communications tool for the workplace. “DingTalk has many satisfied customers using our tool in Asia, Europe and the U.S., which points to its success and customer satisfaction.”

The spokesperson also said that DingTalk had security technology built into the app to protect the privacy of employees and companies’ confidential corporate data.

“DingTalk has not only helped companies improve workflow efficiency through a unified communications platform, but also encouraged transparency and accountability within the workplace.”

WECHAT RIVAL

DingTalk sprang from Alibaba’s unsuccessful attempt to challenge the WeChat instant messenger of its arch-rival, Tencent Holdings Ltd, the service’s chief executive, Wu Zhao, said in an interview.

Employees work at DingTalk office, an offshoot of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China July 20, 2018. Picture taken July 20, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

“We came to understand that we did not understand social media platforms,” Wu said at DingTalk’s offices in Hangzhou, where Alibaba has its headquarters.

Instead, Wu’s team sought another niche, tackling a common managerial complaint in China: workers who fail to reply to messages and later feign ignorance.

The driving force behind DingTalk’s growth has been solving the organizational concerns of Chinese firms and providing – for free – a platform that gives companies a level of efficiency similar to Alibaba’s, Wu said.

“What Jack Ma said to me was: ‘Wu Zhao, helping small and medium enterprises is our company’s mission. You go do that; don’t concern yourself with making money’,” he said.

Asked about DingTalk’s business model, Wu said the company was focusing on helping companies become transparent and efficient, rather than making a profit.

The app’s basic features are all free, but users have to pay for hardware and additional cloud storage or conference call minutes, as well as for third party services.

Alibaba does not specify DingTalk’s revenue in its financial statements.

Wu is aware of the backlash DingTalk is facing, but says the problem is a “toxic work culture at some companies” and misuse by some employers.

“The tool itself is not the problem; the way it is used is the problem,” he said.

“DingTalk’s goal is to encourage transparent and equal communications among all staff,” Wu said. “We believe only by creating an equal, transparent and effective communications environment that bottom-up and real innovation can be realized.”

FRUSTRATIONS

Records from the app have been used by companies as evidence to fire employees and dock pay, according to labor-related lawsuits seen by Reuters in court filings.

But DingTalk also wins praise as a productivity aid.

“It saves a lot of time as you no longer need to sit in physical conference calls and make phone calls. For important matters, you just need to ding someone,” said Liu Sufen, a spokeswoman at the Chinese bicycle-sharing firm Hellobike.

For larger companies, like Dongguan Meishang Clothing, which has a nation-wide client base and more than 3,000 employees, DingTalk has helped reduce costs and increase efficiency, said Peng Xiang, the company’s information director.

“Before we used DingTalk, it was nearly impossible for employees to communicate directly with the boss; however with DingTalk this becomes possible and easy.”

Peng said approval processes that once took a week could now be done in an hour on DingTalk.

Despite the grumbling, Wu believes the service will translate across borders and cultures – even in the West.

“If you come into Starbucks in the morning and you are told you can’t buy coffee because their staff hasn’t arrived, will you accept that? Even the Europeans won’t accept tardiness.”

However, Chen Bikui, a partner at Liuhe Ventures who invests in enterprise software startups, said he doubted that DingTalk would succeed abroad, citing issues like privacy concerns in the West.

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“DingTalk is so much tailored to Chinese companies – it would be hard for it to be adopted by companies from other countries,” he said.

Reporting by Yawen Chen in BEIJING and Christian Shepherd in HANGZHOU; Additional Reporting by Beijing Newsroom and Elias Glenn; Editing by Tony Munroe and Philip McClellan

Biotech Analysis Central Pharma News: Teva's U.S. Erosion, Denali's Preliminary Results, Epizyme's Trial Shutdown

Welcome to Biotech Analysis Central Daily News, a daily news report and analysis about what has happened lately in the biotech industry.

Teva Dips As U.S. Generic Sales Continue To Drop

News: Recently, Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) announced its Q2 earnings. It reported adjusted income of $0.78 cents per share on sales of $4.7 billion. In comparison analysts were expecting the company to earn $0.67 cents per share on sales of $4.76 billion. Generic U.S. Sales dipped down to $947 million for the quarter. It was also reported that sales of Copaxone dipped by 46% to $464 million. It was revealed that debt remains at around $30.2 billion.

Analysis: The earnings per share number was a beat, however sales came in slightly below the consensus of what was expected. However, setting that aside there are major issues that remain. The first issue is that earnings have still been declining year over year. In the same period last year, Teva reported adjusted earnings of $1.02 per share on sales of $5.72 billion. That’s a huge dip year over year in both EPS and in revenue from the numbers reported. Generic sales in the U.S. continue to erode due to increased competition from copycat drugs. It is just the landscape of the generics market which is bad and continues to fall. It is even said that generic U.S. drug sales fall an average of 15% per quarter. In my opinion, such a drop is not sustainable. Copaxone continues to fall by the wayside as a generic versions of the drug continue to eat into sales. Teva attempted to counter the eroding sales with laquinimod, but that has failed to live up to expectations in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and in other diseases. Just recently, Teva and its partner Active Biotech (ACTI) failed a phase 2 study using laquinimod to treat Huntington’s disease. Debt is slowly coming down, but in my eyes it’s not fast enough. That debt of $30.2 billion will still continue to be a major risk factor and burden on the stock.

Denali Therapeutics Shows Positive Preliminary Data For Parkinson’s

News: Recently, Denali Therapeutics (DNLI) announced that it had obtained positive results from its phase 1 study treating patients with Parkinson’s using DNL201. This phase 1 study recruited more than 100 healthy patients who received either a single or multiple ascending doses of the drug. In addition, some patients in the study were given placebo. It is believed that DNL201 is able to inhibit leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 ((LRRK2)). The reason for doing so is because it is believed LRRK2 regulates lysosomal genesis and function, and for those with Parkinson’s this mutation causes the disease. The drug was shown to encourage robust target engagement in two blood-based biomarkers of LRRK2 activity. DNL201 was also shown to have an effect on biomarkers for lysosomal function. These may have some indication that this drug can work in this population.

Analysis: These are preliminary findings, but the most important item to note is that targeting LRRK2 activity may be a way to treat Parkinson’s. There is another item to make note of, and that is the ability for the drug to be adaptive. By that I mean even though DNL201 targets patients with the LRRK2 protein, it can also be used in a broad sense. That means DNL201 is going to be explored in a phase 1b study as the next part of its clinical advancement. It will treat Parkinson’s patients with or without the LRRK2 protein. This study is expected to start by the end of 2018. This is a good start on preliminary analysis, and the next study should incorporate a higher dose that should improve efficacy.

Epizyme Shutters B-Cell Cancer Study After Trial Observation

News: Recently, Epizyme (EPZM) released its Q2 earnings report and updates on its pipeline. It was noted in the report that it would stop development of its drug tazemetostat for treating patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). It was noted that in cohorts from a particular study, tazemetostat was not performing well in treating patients with DLBCL. This observation was made with both tazemetostat as a monotherapy and as a combination with prednisolone.

Analysis: This is another huge blow for Epizyme, because tazemetostat is the main drug in its pipeline. This bad news is in addition to another prior issue where tazemetostat was placed on an FDA partial clinical hold for a study treating patients with genetically defined solid tumors and malignancies. The reason for the partial clinical hold was that a pediatric patient developed secondary T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. This prompted the FDA to immediately place the partial clinical hold on the trial. It has been about 3 months now since the hold was announced, but I guess the bright side is that it was only a partial hold. Meaning, patients that were already in the study could still receive treatment with tazemetostat. In essence, the hold was just to stop the recruitment of new patients. Even setting the issue with the FDA clinical hold aside, Epizyme having to dump its DLBCL indication due to lack of efficacy is not good at all. The hope now lies in the ability for Epizyme to get the partial clinical hold lifted by the FDA. If it can do that in a timely manner, then maybe it still has a shot to turn things around.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

U.S. Congress passes bill forcing tech companies to disclose foreign software probes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress is sending President Donald Trump legislation that would force technology companies to disclose if they allowed countries like China and Russia to examine the inner workings of software sold to the U.S. military.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) speaks about U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision not to impose sanctions on Russia during a media briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The legislation, part of the Pentagon’s spending bill, was drafted after a Reuters investigation last year found software makers allowed a Russian defense agency to hunt for vulnerabilities in software used by some agencies of the U.S. government, including the Pentagon and intelligence services.

The final version of the bill was approved by the Senate in a 87-10 vote on Wednesday after passing the House last week. The spending bill is expected to be signed into law by Trump.

Security experts said allowing Russian authorities to probe the internal workings of software, known as source code, could help Moscow discover vulnerabilities they could exploit to more easily attack U.S. government systems.

The new rules were drafted by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

“This disclosure mandate is the first of its kind, and is necessary to close a critical security gap in our federal acquisition process,” Shaheen said in an emailed statement.

“The Department of Defense and other federal agencies must be aware of foreign source code exposure and other risky business practices that can make our national security systems vulnerable to adversaries,” she said.

The law would force U.S. and foreign technology companies to reveal to the Pentagon if they allowed cyber adversaries, like China or Russia, to probe software sold to the U.S. military.

Companies would be required to address any security risks posed by the foreign source code reviews to the satisfaction of the Pentagon, or lose the contract.

The legislation also creates a database, searchable by other government agencies, of which software was examined by foreign states that the Pentagon considers a cyber security risk.

It makes the database available to public records requests, an unusual step for a system likely to include proprietary company secrets.

Tommy Ross, a senior director for policy at the industry group The Software Alliance, said software companies had concerns that such legislation could force companies to choose between selling to the U.S. and foreign markets.

“We are seeing a worrying trend globally where companies are looking at cyber threats and deciding the best way to mitigate risk is to hunker down and close down to the outside world,” Ross told Reuters last week.

A Pentagon spokeswoman declined to comment on the legislation.

In order to sell in the Russian market, technology companies including Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co, SAP SE and McAfee have allowed a Russian defense agency to scour software source code for vulnerabilities, the Reuters investigation found last year.

In many cases, Reuters found that the software companies had not informed U.S. agencies that Russian authorities had been allowed to conduct the source code reviews. In most cases, the U.S. military does not require comparable source code reviews before it buys software, procurement experts have told Reuters. (Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2J0Mf2C)

The companies had previously said the source code reviews were conducted by the Russians in company-controlled facilities, where the reviewer could not copy or alter the software. The companies said those steps ensured the process did not jeopardize the safety of their products.

McAfee announced last year that it no longer allows government source code reviews. Hewlett Packard Enterprise has said none of its current software has gone through the process.

SAP did not respond to requests for comment on the legislation. HPE and McAfee spokespeople declined further comment.

Reporting by Joel Schectman; Additional reporting by Jack Stubbs in Moscow

Embracing Roadblocks Can Actually Help You Get Ahead. Here's How.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If it was easy, everyone would do it”? This can be applied to so many things in life from starting your own business, writing a book, becoming a professional athlete or actress, to even just achieving your personal goals.

If you want more out of life than the norm, try this Agile technique.

Relentless Pursuit of Roadblock Removal

Agile is a methodology often used in project management and software development, but we can learn from this approach for just about any type of project or situation in life. Agile involves an iterative and incremental approach to completing your project. You want to look for the minimum viable product to release to market then build upon it in future releases rather that try to do everything up front and have one big release at the end.

Agile also focuses around collaboration and making things visible where you clearly see your progress and visualize any roadblocks keeping your from your goal. I’ve had projects where we have launched to market more than 80% faster than other organizations just by what I like to call “relentless pursuit of roadblock removal”.

When we ran into a setback, instead of sending an email or waiting until the next meeting to bring it up, I literally picked up the phone and called the person that could help and said “We have hit a roadblock on the website migration project and cannot move forward until we resolve this. Can you help?” Then I wouldn’t get off the phone until we had a solution. Just this simple wording help us move past challenges at lightning speed.

Make Your Roadblocks Visible

When you think something is important but it isn’t getting done, why is that? Why do other things continually rise in importance?  I’ve found that sometimes, there are small roadblocks that are holding us back that we may not even realize.

For example, when I was writing my last book, I had drafted out all of the chapter content in a few weeks, then it was just sitting there for months. I realized that I needed help to move forward and should involve an outside perspective. I hired an editor and we began iterating back and forth making more progress at each round of revisions.

If you want to get closer to your goals, try identifying what your roadblocks are and make them visible. Once you can visualize what’s blocking you from moving forward, you may realize that you could take one of several actions. You could schedule some time for yourself to focus on working through the roadblock. Although, if you were able to work through the roadblocks yourself then why haven’t you done it already?

Another option is that you could ask for help and find some accountability from someone else. Sometimes that could still take a while. I’ve noticed that when I hit a roadblock, it could be because something that I need to do doesn’t come naturally for me and I realize I should outsource something or find someone that is more of an expert in that area. You could pay someone else to do something they are already good at to help you get closer to your goals.

Be Around What You Want

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard when you want to achieve something that may seem out of reach is to find someone that is already doing what you want to do and watch them, study them, learn from them. Offer to add value to what they are doing just to be around an environment aligned with your dream. Donate your time or volunteer to help, so that you can elevate your current state and level experience.

Don’t try to jump head first into business when you haven’t done it before. Start by studying it, get involved, look at what you can learn from others.

I didn’t just start my own business out of the blue. I watched how other people started their businesses. I offered to help a friend with their business and I invested financially in helping that business grow. When it came time for me to go out on my own, I already had learned about the business world, the challenges, what works, what doesn’t. You don’t have to discover all the roadblocks yourself first hand. Find a way to learn from others on what roadblocks to avoid.
 

How to Make Difficult Decisions Without Regret

I have a friend who spends an agonizing amount of research on almost every major purchase he makes. Once, he spent six months researching leather sectionals before finally settling on the “perfect” one. Car shopping? Forget it. He starts years in advance.

Of course, he’s not alone. Like my sweet, meticulous friend, there are loads of people who belabor big decisions. They are what scientists call maximizers, people who suffer from F.O.B.O: Fear of Better Options. In business, maximizers can be a company’s greatest asset or its biggest liability — they can stunt growth, block innovation or gum up the works in negotiations.

Whether it stems from a need for control or the fear of making a bad decision, maximizers relentlessly research all possibilities lest they miss out on the “best” deal or outcome. The irony, of course, is that maximizers can never achieve an ideal outcome because it’s impossible to investigate all possible options before making a decision. And while maximizers tend to make better decisions, they also tend to be less satisfied with those decisions because they feel there are still better options to be had. In fact, a study conducted by researchers at Swathmore College shows that maximizers regret their decisions and second-guess themselves more than their quick-choosing counterparts, the satisficers.

So if you’re a maximizer, how do you keep from falling down a rabbit hole of choices that saps you of precious time and energy without feeling you’re missing out on something better? The trick is to ask yourself these key questions.

1. What are your must-haves?

When making a decision, what are the conditions that need to be met or the features that need to exist for you to be satisfied? What are your absolute must-haves?

When my friend was researching his options for leather sectionals, for instance, size and color were his nonnegotiables. He wanted a piece that both fit comfortably in his living room and matched the room’s decor. Price, while a consideration, was not as important as these other two requirements.

When you can narrow down your must-haves, your decision making process will be less laborious and time-consuming because you’ve identified what matters most to you.

2. Can you limit your choices?

There’s a reason why Steve Jobs famously wore his signature turtleneck and jeans to work almost everyday of his life. Jobs didn’t want to burden himself with small, routine decisions that consumed valuable mental energy. When it came to wardrobe, Jobs was not a maximizer; he was a pragmatist.

Because maximizers spend so much time and energy weighing their options, when the time comes to make complex decisions, they feel tapped out — mentally, physically and emotionally.

To avoid decision fatigue, do what Steve Jobs did and limit your choices.

3. Can you be OK with “good enough?”

Sometimes, you have to accept that you don’t have enough information, time or resources to make an optimal decision. There are deadlines you have to contend with, blindspots you have to navigate and constraints you have to deal with. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t make good decisions. It simply means you have to be okay with making a “good enough” decision.

Decide what “good enough” means to you and when you’ve reached that threshold, pull the trigger. A good-enough decision is better than no decision at all.

I’d love to hear from you: how you tackle tough choices? Do you consider yourself a maximizer or a satisficer? Let me know in the comments.