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What should the CIO be bringing to the table this year?

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Mark Raskino, Gartner.

Mark Raskino, Gartner.

Is this year going to be business as usual for the CIO – managing costs in the IT department and keeping those instances of SAP running? Or is this going to be the year in which the CIO nudges the business in a new direction?

Some CIOs are already on this journey. These executives have probably delegated most of the day-to-day running of their department to the IT manager, freeing up time so they can interact with their C-level peers. They’ve also earned their seat at the table, but have taken care to build a solid foundation; the company e-mail needs to be working before you take your board seat.

These CIOs feed their colleagues ideas about how technology can reinvent their products and services. It is they who are leading their companies to increasing relevance and profitability, and while this mantra isn’t new, with each year, the pressure builds.

They also have a deeper understanding of how technology is being used across the business, and not just in the IT department.

Meanwhile, for other CIOs, it’s still business as usual. They’ll probably be more involved with the nuts and bolts of the IT department, and will thus be absent from meetings with their peers. They’re also more likely to confine their opinions to matters closely related to IT. They probably don’t have the ear of their chief executive or their board of directors, which, at least in the medium to long term, isn’t sustainable. These companies’ boards may be stacked with financial people, and while that’s not a bad thing, it’s too homogenous and the boards will have little tolerance for new ideas.

How did it come to this? Timidity, for one thing. Timidity to ask questions, to engage. Timidity to step outside the narrow world of IT operations and engage your peers.

CIOs – or at least the ones who are contributing to company strategy – are going to be more effective if they report directly to the CEO. Ideally, they should have been hired by the chief executive.

Team player

What about the hiring process? Everyone is going to be a lot happier if the right questions are asked at the beginning.

That’s the experience of Mark Raskino, a fellow in the CEO and digital business leadership research team at Gartner. He says CEOs want a CIO who is going to be part of the team.

“They don’t want an observer,” he says. “The CEO wants a team player who can bond with the group and contribute to discussions that aren’t just about technology.”

The world, meanwhile, is becoming more proactive, more exploratory. Any CEO worth their salt knows this.

It’s also probably worth paying attention to your body language. Lean in, says Raskino, don’t move your chair back from the table. This signals disengagement, and it may be hard to believe, but Raskino says he’s known people to be fired for just this kind of negative physical behaviour (while the CEO probably just made up another reason).

Being a team player is also particularly important for the CIO because IT is everywhere. The financial people use it, the human resources people use it, and so in some sense, they all own different parts of it. CIOs need to learn to let go. And listen.

Other than attitude, it’s vital that the CIO and CEO dig into the strategy of the firm. Or, put another way, what does the CEO really want?

Do they need some help with overhauling the company’s IT systems? Or do they need help with improving the margins?

Digital strategy

Another question that will get to the heart of the company’s strategy is around what the CEO thinks about digital. What does digital mean in the context of the CIO’s job at this company? Raskino says if the CEO needs something concrete done – such as managing the existing systems – that’s fine, but that may signal they’re more concerned with the prosaic and less with innovation.

The world, meanwhile, is becoming more proactive, more exploratory. Any CEO worth their salt knows this. What irks them, says Raskino, is that they know they don’t know enough about technology.

Often a CEO is looking for someone to show them the way, or “be the smart person in the room, the one who will say, ‘this is what tech should be doing in your context’.”

CIOs will also probably be well served by asking the chief executive what their vision is for the company over the next five years. And once they’ve answered that, where do they see their industry over a similar time period? Their answers will uncover a crucial fact: how much do they understand about the relevance of technology in their market’s context?

Another question could be around what frustrated them about CIOs they’d worked with in the past, which should provide some signposts about their expectations.

Raskino says if a company is perceived to be one in which some digital innovation is happening, get the CEO to articulate what they believe to be the difference between IT and digital. If they say the main part of the work will be within the IT department, they’re probably looking for some cost optimisation within the business. If, on the other hand, they’re more interested in broad digital initiatives, this could mean you’ll be focussing on market-facing issues, such as customers, revenue and profitability.

Reversal of fortune

This is not to say that cost management, efficiencies and service provision are no longer important; it’s just that these have now receded to the point where they’re increasingly being taken as a given. Raskino says the great CIOs of the prior decade made their fortunes by cost-cutting as well as presiding over improvement in service levels. But there comes a point at which the company is going to suffer damage from endless cost-cutting. What’s more likely, especially in larger firms, is that there’s a reversal as IT budgets and headcounts increase.

“Chief executives have realised that after years of believing that technology was a commodity input to a business, they now understand that it’s your new foreground, your product and service differentiation in the market. They know they need a different posture on technology,” he says.

How can you possibly expect your company to have a digital future if not one person on the board of directors has any of that background?

This change of attitude is all in the service of differentiation, and is being driven by these larger companies attempting to forge a core competency that’s enough to create a differentiation in the market.

Raskino mentions GE, General Motors and AstraZeneca as examples of companies rebuilding their tech competencies, which are predominantly designed to boost revenues.

“It’s justifying itself. They know they need that competency to win in markets.”

The board must also not be forgotten. Raskino recommends taking stock of the composition, and identifying who has worked in and around the technology industry.

“How can you possibly expect your company to have a digital future if not one person on the board of directors has any of that background? Your conversation is going to be absent, or ignored, without that person in the room.

“And then ask yourself how many bankers have you got? How many ex-finance directors have you got on the board? Why have you got so many people of the same cognitive type and nobody of the other type?

“For the next 30 years, tech is going to be critical to how your industry shapes, reshapes and shapes itself again.”

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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal

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People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.


People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

Montreal
– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in
Montreal.

The
worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

Israeli
strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

Speaking
after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

While
insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

Earlier
on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

Several
hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

Although
the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

The
SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

The
police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

Following
the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

Several
thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

“Terrorist
Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

Pro-Palestinian
protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.


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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do

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“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach

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Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)


Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe

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Miss Universe Andrea Meza


Miss Universe Andrea Meza

UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 IS ANDREA MEZA FROM MEXICO:


UPDATE:

THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 5:

1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru


UPDATE:

HERE ARE THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 10 CONTESTANTS:

1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21 IN SWIMWEAR:


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21: 

1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam


 UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE SOUTH AFRICA NATASHA JOUBERT WALKS THE STAGE AT MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021:


74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021

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By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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