Gary Mintchell

April 4, 2024

Descent to Normalcy

Several colleagues have traveled close to my new location, and we’ve shared some good meals with great conversation. Inevitably they asked for my observations on the state of the automation market. Part of my answer, in short, would be to quote from a recent Seth Godin blog post, The Drift to Normal. As an organization grows in scale, ...
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March 25, 2024

Slow Productivity and Treating Someone With Respect

Are you feeling like you’re always super busy, yet when you review the month it doesn’t look like you have accomplished that much? Do you look enviously at your colleague who never seems frenzied yet turns in high quality work on time? If so, it is time for you to pick up Slow Productivity by Cal Newport. Learn to choose your work of t...
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February 20, 2024

Where Do You Get Industrial Technology Information?

I would gather my pile of trade magazines plus general ones like The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review, and MIT Sloan Management Review every Sunday through the 80s, 90s, and into the 2000s. My boss at Airstream in the late 70s taught me about clipping articles and saving them in notebooks. I had a program management/project management n...
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February 4, 2024

When Your Boss Asks For an AI Strategy

You boss wanders into your office. “Do we have an AI strategy?” Worse, the CEO just read an article in the Wall Street Journal or in an industry trade magazine predicting that there will be two kinds of companies within five years—those that have an AI strategy and those who are out of business. The memo comes out—what is our AI strate...
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January 8, 2024

Solving Big Problems

It’s the beginning of a year. Always a time for looking back in order to look forward. December was the 20th Anniversary of my blog. It has changed a few times and is about to change a little again. It went from experiment to novelty to business. I have experienced several market changes throughout my career. I saw the recreation vehic...
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December 10, 2023

Leadership--greed and morality?

I receive the strangest press releases. Lately several publicity agents have targeted me about mental health issues. Much has been written about mental health crises gripping the nation. That is no doubt true. But I wonder if this is a case where the situation is less hidden. My mom had issues that even led to a brief hospitalization. ...
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December 3, 2023

Some Managers Are Bozos

I hired some professional managers. They were bozos. They didn’t know anything. Anyone who is any good would not work for people who can’t teach them. — Attributed to Steve Jobs I was fortunate to receive decent management training early in my career. I hope that most of the time I’ve been a manager or leader of a group that I’ve been ...
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November 19, 2023

How Afraid Are You of the Big, Bad AI?

Remember the Terminator movies? I remember seeing the initial release while attending a conference of technology developers. “This is the wrong audience to show a movie about the evils of technology,” I quipped. The big technology news of the past week was the abrupt termination of Sam Altman as CEO of OpenAI, the company that released...
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November 6, 2023

The Art of Seeing Others Deeply

You can be a manager, and perhaps even a leader of a sort, while bullying people to perform more and more. Leaders that get meaningful work done and retain and build people have deeper people skills. This new book from David Brooks will guide you into creating better conversations and understanding with other people. I know, last newsl...
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October 30, 2023

Working plus Excellent Advice From Others

For some reason, I have some difficulty sitting on the weekend and writing a few thoughts. I wrote last on Labor Day weekend thinking about work. I’m still developing ideas about why we work, how we work, the impact of automation and AI on work, how we help people work. I have an annual “job” that lasts from the end of July until mid-O...
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September 4, 2023

Why Do We Work?

Why do we work? Labor Day weekend in America celebrates working people. Or, at least it was supposed to. The actual purpose is to have a last 3-day weekend of summer before all the fall activities around school begin. As Don Norman writes in the beginning of his latest work, Design for a Better World: Meaningful, Sustainable, Humanity ...
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August 27, 2023

Productivity or Doing What's Important

I have worked part-time as a soccer referee assignor for 35 years. In the early years, I used Microsoft Excel. Entering games and referees, making changes, sorting and sending assignments, were all fast. Some things could be automated. Productivity was key to getting done and back to my regular job. Then we were forced into systems wit...
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August 15, 2023

Technology Market Cycles

My career spans three technology/market cycles. I’ve seen the excitement of new companies, new technology adaptations, new markets three times. All as user and marketing/sales and writer/influencer. I got involved thanks to a boss with the IT world in the late 70s. At the same time I started playing around with PCs—a Timex Sinclair tha...
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July 15, 2023

Doing Significant Work

What is productivity in this age, not only in manufacturing, but also in knowledge work? Do the old rules still apply? And, above all, how can we bring humanity into the workplace? Seth Godin has written many books worth your time reading. His latest book, Song of Significance, is packed with thoughts that both inform and prod into act...
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June 11, 2023

What Is Reality, Anyway?

Companies and media rush us from one catastrophe to another--actually one anticipated catastrophe to another. Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens were going to numb our brains with Augmented Reality overlaying digital stuff over the physical world. That's if our brains weren't fried with complete escape with Virtual Reality wafting us ...
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May 6, 2023

Fresh Thoughts for Electricity Generation Tech

I’m installing solar panels to generate electricity to charge my new Ioniq 6 electric vehicle. Conservation efforts of various kinds have long occupied part of my volunteer efforts. So, going electrical when circumstances convinced me it was time for a new car, it was a no-brainer to go for electric. Not all electricity is clean energy...
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April 18, 2023

Autonomous Manufacturing

Autonomous The media are going all things AI crazy. I see it on LinkedIn, Twitter, rss newsfeed. Then I see some manufacturing specific references discussing autonomous plants. On a recent podcast episode, Seth Godin just spoke about the two ends of a spectrum of everything on our online or human touch. He was talking about retail busi...
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March 25, 2023

Will ChatGPT Destroy Us?

Of course not. Many writers in mainstream (and not so main) media are rushing to get (mostly) unfounded opinions published about the power and future of these artificial intelligence (machine learning) apps, especially ChatGPT. Will anyone human ever write anything anymore? What will become of education? Will humans become slaves? Ther...
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February 27, 2023

Why Do Open Systems Work in IT but Have Not Made It in OT?

Curiosity of the week—why have open systems worked so well in the IT market but failed to gain traction in the “OT” market? Thoughts? Send me a message at One of the meetings I look forward to these days at the ARC Forum in Orlando concerns updates from The Open Process Automation Forum, a working group of The Op...
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February 20, 2023

Look For Good Writers When Hiring

When we go to high school and university, we think we’re supposed to memorize many facts. It’s not a bad thing to learn and remember. The essential characteristics and behaviors of an educated person are these, however: • Ability to learn on your own • Ability to think clearly • Ability to express yourself clearly Many people learn tha...
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February 14, 2023

Further Thoughts on Emerson Acquisition of NI, ARC Forum, Search

The annual ARC Industry Forum was last week. It was great to catch up with many people I have not seen for a while. Attendance was good considering there is now a Forum in Europe as well as Asia. Many do not have to travel so far. Attendees were energetic in the initial receptions and the conference tracks I attended attracted interest...
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February 3, 2023

Gary Mintchell Newsletter--Attention Deficit or Attention Span

The seeming chaos surrounding Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has faded. His tweets have become more infrequent and less bombastic. His apparent panic to fund the takeover keeps finding new paths to cost reduction. They’ve reduced the gross algorithm feeds, but the “for you” and “following” tabs don’t seem to work that much and noti...
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January 16, 2023

Twitter, Creativity, and a new Podcast from Gary

Twitter suddenly turned off APIs for 3rd party apps to access its stream. They went down a couple of days ago. Word from a Twitter engineer was that it was intentional. I have heard nothing today about the situation. Meanwhile, clicks to my other blog have declined over the past four months until this month down to almost nothing this ...
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January 8, 2023

Digital Transformation Remains An Important Topic

Digital Transformation The subject lines on the stream of press releases coming my way tell the story of current trends in industrial technology. Cybersecurity remains the one constant as new companies pop up like mushrooms in the spring, and we all fear the next big hack may be on us. The past few years have witnessed the progression ...
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December 20, 2022

Metaverse Fedaverse Where the Heck are we Going

OK, it has been a while. I had a late summer project that sucked up time like a black bear sucking up honey at a bee hive. November was filled with trips, Thanksgiving, and a little outpatient surgery (nothing serious, but fixed an anomaly as we say in process control). Time to get back into the rhythms of newsletter, podcast, and blog...
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June 24, 2022

Travels In Manufacturing Land

I’ve been on the road three of the past four weeks. After two years of short drives with a couple of exceptions, airports and planes became a strange sensation. I went to the Honeywell User Group, ARC Advisory Group Industry Forum, and Rockwell Automation ROKLive (its software event). Unfortunately, all in Orlando. And I really don’t w...
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May 7, 2022


The last newsletter I referred to the latest book I was reading, “Steel Toes and Stilettos,” by Shannon Karels and Kathy Miller, subtitled “a story of women forging a path in manufacturing management.” What “The Goal” by Cox and Goldratt was to the previous generation of manufacturing operations managers, this book should be for the ne...
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April 18, 2022

Random Thoughts from Gary

Quote of the day: If you hurry to get to the future, you always get a punishment for it. For example, instant coffee.” Alan Watts === Book I’m reading: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman. My introduction to time management was 1977 at a company management conference when the speaker sent us all DayTime...
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March 14, 2022

In Person Meetings, Cool Podcasts, IoT Changes

The ODVA held its annual general meeting last week in San Diego, and I was there. It was my second post-pandemic business trip. People greeted each other happy to be in person. My take on information shared was posted last week on The Manufacturing Connection.
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January 24, 2022

Data and Automation Trends

Journalist's ability to accurately report on all the statistics and research floating around, as well as the general public's deficiency are appalling. I found this book by Tim Harford and reviewed it. The Data Detective - . Companion to that were thoughts I assemb...
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