Guest Blogger Cesar Ramirez, Electronics Engineer and Designer at Lund and Company Invention, L.L.C.
After her initial appearance in Isaac Asimov's I, Robot, the super-computer VIKI has taken up residence here at Lund and Company.
VIKI (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence) is an evil computer that wants to enslave all humans to protect them from their own inevitable self-destruction. However, here at Lund and Company we've reprogrammed her to forget how self-destructive we are.
We assign her a very important task - to run the building and everything in it. VIKI turns on the lights in the morning and turns them off when we leave at night. She open the outdoor umbrella when we go outside to take a break, and she knows to open the secret doors and passageways at just the right moment. She also informs us about the weather each morning and sings us "Happy Birthday" on our birthdays.
VIKI is now a very busy and benevolent computer here at Lund and Company, and we are glad to have her here. It's too bad that she is sometimes shy and untalkative, but that may just be a bug in the program. We just hope that one day she doesn’t send killing robots after us.
From guest blogger Jessie Mansbacher, Business Manager at Lund and Company
You don't really know who your clients are until you look them in the eyeball. You shake their hands. You glance around their office space. You take mental notes and suddenly the context of your business relationship settles into place in your mind. Then, the possibilities open up.
When you really tune in to your clients, when you spend time with them as they are, in their own environments, you come away with a better sense of who they are and how you can get them what they want. You make a connection, you do better business. And, honestly, you are better able to enjoy the business that you do.
We have been focusing our energy on doing just that the past few months. We have been jet-setting around the country, shaking hands, looking our clients in the eyes, and indefatigably selling our wares. We have looked out upon both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the span of a week. As a result, the span of our own horizon has opened up into an uplifting and hopeful vista of opportunity.
A work team may be thought of like a family - and like a family this unit is likely made up of many disparate personalities, individuals with their own quirks, idiosyncrasies, likes, dislikes, and on and on.
You know this, you probably came from a family like that and are likely part of one now. Families can be fulfilling in our lives and challenging, as well.
I often think of our Lund and Company team as family, and many of those who have worked with us in the past, or may do so as freelance, are part of our extended family. All family members deserve respect, even affection, generally speaking. For all their varied persona, they are family, and we don’t forget that, even over the years.
I believe that respect is a hallmark of a good team. Each team member must have respect for his or her colleagues, for everyone's abilities and contributions, and for each coworker as a human being - including accommodation for quirks and oddities, up to a point. Without respect for one’s teammates, one’s ability to function optimally within the team is compromised.
Every toy and game inventor out there is keenly aware of the consumer love affair with apps, all things iPad, iPhone, iPod, and the mobile gaming trend. All are trying to figure out how to tap into the exploding billion-dollar market (and growing every day!) -- if they haven’t already!
So, of course, we at Lund and Company Invention are working on our strategy to integrate electronic games into our product offerings. However, as an industry mentor told me long ago, sometimes you need to ‘zig’ when everyone else ‘zags'.
It works for stock investing and perhaps for product development, as well.
We have had products fail miserably on more than one occasion because our client companies would not accept our repeated offers of assistance, and target ship dates were missed and orders cancelled as a result.
We have had products come to market that were less than they could have been; less appealing - less fun to play with, and worse - when our offers of assistance and collaboration were ignored, even spurned.
Our team has experience and expertise that goes unused, even unwanted, but where utilized can speed product development and improve the likelihood of success, even lead to significant new innovation.
Innovation sells and significant innovation can create huge successes.
We at Lund and Company Invention, L.L.C. have worked side-by-side with toy and game manufacturers for more than 30 years – and I’d say for the most part the results are successful, and at times brilliant.
Sometimes the picture is not quite so rosy! As I analyze those times, I believe the key ingredient that is sometimes missing is direct and honest communication, and the openness to close collaboration.