Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Has Hacking Become a Matter of Life and Death?

Hackers have figured out how to break into your car’s computer. After several months of research and testing, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek will publish detailed blueprints of the techniques to attack critical systems in the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape. They will make this knowledge known through a 100-page white paper.

According to their report, a hacker can control your

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On Being a Director

by Bob Weissman 
Former Chairman & CEO of Dun & Bradstreet

Over the past forty-three years, I have had the privilege of sitting on the boards of eleven public companies, and I can report that the changes in the ways that boards have operated over that time have been stunning.

I have witnessed the rise and decline of the era of the imperial CEO; the transformation of public equity markets from investing markets to trading markets and from individual investing to institutional investing. These changes have created pressure both for management and the boards of public companies to meet the short-term value maximization goals of institutional holders and, at the same time, to respond to

Introduction Letter and Bio from Bob Weissman, former CEO of Dun & Bradstreet


My name is Bob Weissman. Over the past fifty years, I have had the good fortune to successfully lead companies with sales ranging from two million to six billion, in industries as diverse as gun parts manufacturing and Yellow Pages publishing.

Along with some successes, I made at least my share of mistakes. But win or lose, I consistently tried to understand any underlying principle or insight that might help prepare me for the next ‘adventure’.

Most important, I made a note of what I had learned; and over the years I have kept those notes.

Ted Santos has suggested that I share those insights with you through occasional commentary on his blog, and I jumped at the chance.

 I’m looking forward to joining your blog community.


Bob Weissman

Biography – Robert E. Weissman

Robert E. Weissman retired in January 2001 after nearly thirty years working as CEO for several public corporations.  Over the course of his career, Mr. Weissman has started a business that grew from 42 employees to 64,000 in 15 years, done over 200 acquisitions, and has been a Director of 11 public companies.  When he retired, Mr. Weissman was Chairman of IMS Health, the world’s largest provider of information to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.  IMS Health is listed on the NYSE and is an S&P 500 company.

IMS Health was a spin-off from The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation in 1996.  Mr. Weissman was with D&B for seventeen years, becoming Chairman and CEO in 1993. 

Prior to his election to the top post, he was President and COO of that company since 1985.  In the period that Mr. Weissman was with Dun & Bradstreet, it grew to become the largest information and market research company in the world, with 72,000 employees in 114 countries.

Mr. Weissman joined Dun & Bradstreet in May 1979, when D&B acquired National CSS, a computer time-sharing company, where he was President and CEO.

Prior to joining National CSS, Mr. Weissman was Executive Vice President of Rediffusion, Inc., a manufacturer of communications equipment and computers.  Previously, he was President and CEO of Spencer-Kennedy Laboratories.

Since his retirement, Mr. Weissman has been active as Chairman of Shelburne Investments, a private investment company that works with emerging companies in the United States and Europe.

Mr. Weissman has been a member of several professional and business organizations, including the Business Roundtable, the Institute of Management Accountants, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and the Committee for Economic Development.  He has also been Chairman of the Information Technology Association of America.  In 1980, he served as Chairman of the World Computer Services Congress.

Mr. Weissman is a director of State Street Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Inc., Information Services Group and Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation.

Born in New Haven, CT, on May 22, 1940, Mr. Weissman graduated from Babson College in 1964.  He is Vice Chairman of Babson’s Board of Trustees, where he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1995.

He and his wife Janet have three grown children and make their home in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Aristotle Quotes on the Mark of an Educated Mind

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. — Aristotle

Can you entertain or tolerate a discussion with someone even if you don’t see the logic in his or her viewpoint? In our culture, the objective of a conversation is to find agreement or disagreement. In most cases, the individuals in the discussion are not fully listening to one another. They are only listening for what they agree or disagree with and their counter debate.

This includes the philosophy of agreeing to disagree. That mindset does not

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who Will Be Our Leaders in the Future?

In an increasingly complex world, the requirements of leadership will change. For decades, many CEOs rose from sales and marketing. They were great at knowing the product, customers, driving innovation and selling the organization on a vision. In the recent past, they rose from finance and law. They bought back their own shares, orchestrated financial reengineering, changed accounting practices and down sized the company. They have been the masters at making the organization profitable. While many of these talents will be relevant in the future, the most important will be

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What I Learned from Thomas Edison's Quote on Life's Failures

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”Thomas Edison

There’s a difference between wanting something and being committed to something. Whether it’s an intimate relationship, project or a career path, the testament to your commitment arises when things are not going the way you hoped. At that point, you have a choice: 1. You commit to

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How Do You Build Change into Your Organization’s Culture?

The complexity of the global marketplace and technology forces everyone to change practices or behaviors every few months. At the same time, we are indirectly trained to resist. Throughout our lives, we have been told how difficult it is for people to change. If you tell someone something enough times, even if it is a lie, they begin to believe it.

However, if you look at our lives from another perspective, you will see that we are designed to constantly change. Change is built into our lifestyles. In the simplest form, we change our

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Can International Travel Help You Master Change?

When driving breakthrough initiatives in an organization, culture change has to be built into the strategy. While culture is considered a soft skill, it is one to the most difficult initiatives to orchestrate. As a rule, people tend to hold on to old ways. To gain deeper insight into this issue, I used international travel to simulate culture change.

From 1996-1999, I lived in 8 Latin American countries – Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador. During my travels, I experienced change in every sense. My stay in each country ranged 2 days to 20 months. I lived in the jungle and the city. And I encountered