That’s What She Said

An enterprising Reddit user did an analysis of the total number of words that were spoken by all the characters across all 9 seasons of “The Office”. It is no surprise that Michael Scott led the way for the full series even though Steve Carell left the series after Season 7.

It is interesting that Andy and Pam are basically in a dead heat even though Andy did not enter the series until Season 3.  To a degree, the same goes for Erin and Kevin, being that Erin did not show up until Season 5! And then there is Creed…somehow averaging 431 words a season.

In digging into the numbers a little more, I found it interesting how things shifted after Steve Carell left the series. With Carell gone, you would predict that the show would have shifted its focus to Dwight and Jim and that is reflected in the fact that over the last two seasons, the average amount of words said for each of them per season increased by 69% and 31% respectively compared to the average for the previous 7.

What I found interesting though is that Andy actually saw the largest increase, more than doubling the amount of script words over the last two seasons (10,204) compared to his first 5 (4,522 on average from when he joined in Season 3) for an increase of 125%. And looking at other characters, on a relative basis, Darryl (230%), Oscar (150%) and Erin (106%) also saw large increases in attention/script words during the last two seasons.

With the recent ‘trend’ of reviving old shows/sitcoms (Trend being a relative term as the traditional networks and Hollywood has long since lost it’s inventive streak to the rise of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other ‘independent’ outlets…but that is a story for another day) becoming more prominent, there have inevitably been rumors of an “Office” revival. I really hope the adult in the room comes to their senses and just leave this classic series alone. Look at the ‘revival’ of Arrested Development on Netflix. Those seasons were a shell of its former self. There is no reason to mess with perfection.

Career Ladder To Nowhere

Another downturn in the economy, another rung falls off the career ladder. An interesting article over at the HBS blog argues that the current staffing cuts and furloughs that have been executed by multitudes of companies in this recession is taking us one big step further away from the antique concept of the 5 day, 40 hour work week.

But the idea of furloughs, particularly for managers and professionals, is planting the seed of a new way of looking at work in our minds. Suddenly companies have asked us to work, say, 32 hours a week rather than 40. Hmmm. What does that really mean? Most of us were never working 40 hours – we might have been working 50 or maybe even 60. We were answering emails at odd hours, writing in the early hours, calling Singapore at night. Does this mean that we should now work 20% less than we were before . . . or does it mean we should work literally 32 hours?

For many, I believe the conclusion will be that we should work the hours specified by the company and perhaps do other things – start new businesses on the side perhaps, sell stuff on eBay, take another job, go back to school, whatever – with the other time.

This shift sits well with many in Gen X who have already tended to bind their involvement more carefully than have the all-out Boomers. But for both generations, it will be a new way to look at work – another step on the slippery slope of recessionary lessons moving us from (1) you don’t have a job for life, to (2) you may never find full time work with one employer, to now (3) even a full-time job is really only a contractor job in disguise.

No Need For MS Office

Is it getting hot out in Redmond? Is the collar feeling a little tight? OK, so lets not get too carried away…Microsoft is still an immense power in the business, computer and software worlds and they are not going anywhere. In fact, I fully expect them to observe the market, make adjustments, and then come roaring forward to protect their core software businesses including MS Office (exactly what they did with Netscape).

But it is immensely interesting to observe the online marketplace these days and all the amazing web based products and innovation, taking dead aim at Microsoft’s cash cow desktop applications. And I know this is nothing new, as several of these apps have been out in the marketplace for a while now, and they have been written about often.

The item that motivated me to write this post is Gilffy, which is a neat browser based version of MS Visio. So in addition to this, you have Google’s Spreadsheet, Calendar and Gmail, all of Yahoo’s similar services, 30Boxes (Calendar), Writely (and all the other Web based word processing apps), Basecamp from 37 Signals, and Thumbstacks, and Eric Meyer’s S5 slideshow apps, to name a few. You are all set. No need to buy a $500 piece of software in a box full of air.

The only concern is that by using all these web based apps, all your information would be housed on someone else’s server/computer. But most to all of the aforementioned apps give you the ability to download local copies, so that should not be a big issue.

Its quite an interesting time to be a consumer and to be in Redmond. :-) I’ll be interested to see Google and Yahoo’s next steps.