Friday, 27 April 2007

Newsletter Issue 130, April 2007

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 130, April 2007
Hi guys,
For those of you who haven't heard of Ricardo Semler, read about the Brazilian Maverick below.
For all of you who have found that they can no longer get text out of pdf files with Adobe Acrobat Reader 8, there is a way. Read on in Extracting Acrobat 8 pdf File Text
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Brazilian Maverick

In Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1982, twenty four year old Ricardo Semler takes control of his father's struggling industrial equipment company, Semco. A not insignificant company, with a turnover of $6.8 million. In a radical approach to traditional management practice, Semler immediately sacked 66% of his top management team, and insisted that workers took responsibility for their own jobs, set their own wages and their own production targets.
From that moment on, Semler made financial data available to all employees, published all staff wages and let them choose and evaluate their own managers. Meetings and paperwork were kept to a minimum, with the focus on getting the job done.
Amazingly, despite Brazil's rollercoaster and volatile economy, Semco flourished, growing at between 30 and 40 percent a year. Today, company turnover is $273 million a year and employs more than 3000 people.
It is thought that Semler enjoyed success with his management style because it tapped into what we already know about people: that they are motivated and creative and self-disciplined when given the chance to contribute and be involved in decision-making; that they will take more and more responsibility when they are part of a team which maximises opportunities for self-fulfilment.
Letting go control is a leap of faith few CEOs are prepared to take - but over the past 20 years Ricardo Semler has proved it works.
Semco doesn't have a mission statement, headquarters, an HR department, organisational plans further out than six months, an organisation chart, a rulebook or any written policies. At Semco, all employees share in the company’s profits, so freeloaders at any level are unwelcome. Company units decide every six months how many people they will need, what business opportunities they will pursue, and how they will work. Teams are formed and reformed as needed and employees must continually prove their worth to the team in order to be sure of being part of future teams. The resulting high level of worker engagement - and a staff turnover below one percent - is something more traditional companies yearn for - along with their growth rates.
As part of Semco's constant attempts to unsettle the conventional order and unleash more flexibility and creativity, the firm's headquarters have been disbanded in favour of satellite "airport lounge" offices dotted around Sao Paulo. Staff no longer have fixed offices, or even fixed desks. Says Semler: "If you don't even know where your people are, you can't possibly keep an eye on them. All that's left to judge on is performance."
However, few companies have adopted Semco's democratic workplace design. The prevailing organisational system apparently has nothing to assist people make that leap of faith and give up control. Yet just consider - $100,000 invested in this barmy firm 20 years ago would now be worth a cool $5m.

Extracting Acrobat 8 pdf File Text

In Newsletter 86 I gave instructions on how to get text out of pdf files. However, since then, the format of Adobe Acrobat Reader has changed.
Following are updated instructions as to how to select pdf text in Adobe Acrobat 8 and copy it into another application for editing.
All you have to do is open the file that you want to write your changes in - email or word doc; whatever. Leave this programme & file open, then;
  1. Open the Adobe file you have been sent
  2. Go to the Edit menu and select 'Copy file to clipboard' (this copies the entire text of the pdf to the Windows clipboard)
  3. Alt & Tab to the application you want to copy the pdf text into. Position the cursor where you want the text to paste
  4. Click Ctrl & V to paste the Windows clipboard into your doc
  5. Tidy up the text to fit your use (as it comes through with all the formatting, hyperlinks, titles etc in place).
Unfortunately there is no longer a way of getting only a small portion of text out of a pdf file unless you 'own' the document, or unless you have Acrobat Writer.
However, at least you can still get the text out if required :-)

Excel Copyright Notice

Excel has a function which will provide an auto-update copyright notice.
If you always want to display the current year as part of a notice in a particular cell of a worksheet, type in the following formula: ="Copyright " & YEAR(NOW())
The current result is Copyright 2007. Next year it will change to Copyright 2008.
Easy, eh?!

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you:
  • RAID, Redundant Array of Independent Discs (originally redundant array of inexpensive disks). This is a way of storing the same data in different - or redundant - places on multiple hard disks so that input/output (I/O) operations can overlap/balance, improving performance. Multiple disks increase the mean time between failures (MTBF), so RAID decreases faults.
  • I/O, input/output.
  • MTBF, mean time between failures.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, we are going to look at all you can do with arrow keys in Publisher:
  • Publisher "Rotate object 5 degrees counter-clockwise" Alt & Ctrl & Left Arrow
  • Publisher "Rotate object 5 degrees clockwise" Alt & Ctrl & Right Arrow
  • Publisher "Nudge down" Alt & Down Arrow
  • Publisher "Nudge to the left" Alt & Left Arrow
  • Publisher "Nudge to the right" Alt & Right Arrow
  • Publisher "Nudge up" Alt & Up Arrow
  • Publisher "Down one paragraph" Ctrl & Down Arrow
  • Publisher "Left one word" Ctrl & Left Arrow
  • Publisher "Right one word" Ctrl & Right Arrow
  • Publisher "Go to the end of a paragraph" Ctrl & Shift & Down Arrow
  • Publisher "Go to the start of the word" Ctrl & Shift & Left Arrow
  • Publisher "Go to the end of a word" Ctrl & Shift & Right Arrow
  • Publisher "Go to the start of a paragraph" Ctrl & Shift & Up Arrow
  • Publisher "Up one paragraph" Ctrl & Up Arrow
  • Publisher "One line down" Shift & Down Arrow
  • Publisher "Extend the highlighting in a text box one character to the left" Shift & Left Arrow
  • Publisher "Extend the highlighting in a text box one character to the right" Shift & Right Arrow
  • Publisher "One line up" Shift & Up Arrow

Hot Linx
Wikipedia has been overtaken by it's creator, Larry Sanger. View the new construct, Citizendium, at
If you are considering KiwiSaver, to calculate your savings go to or read more at
To organise international travel, you may find a trip to could meet all your travel and accommodation needs
If you are interested in finding out how green individual IT companies are, check out the placings at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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