Two podcast recommendations on the history of business/L&D

I recently had the “Behind the Bastards” podcast recommended to me (well it was recommended in a Reddit group) due to a two-part series on Jack Welch.

Now Jack was a character I was already aware aware of, from business literature, but I did not know anything about his background. Whilst the pod hosts are not for everyone – it is very American, with bad language and at one point a claim that the American capitalist boom in the 50s and 60s was great for Americans but based on mistreatment of people outside of the USA (er…what about racial segregation?) – it does a great job on outlining Welch’s role in helping to create many of the problems in modern business practice and management approaches. It is worth a listen on how the pursuit of money and share value has corrupted so much, essentially in recent times since the 1970s, for the loss of long term sustainability and employee protection. When companies complain employees are no longer loyal it is because people like Welch broke that reciprocal relationship.

Another good recent pod looking at the history of business – the Mindtools pod looked back at 20 years of transition in the training/L&D area. Interesting insights/discussion points in this one – such as the move from “training officer” as the most common job title (although I do not think I had ever made the link that officer went out of fashion as it felt too militaristic), a certain amount of reinventing the wheel even during just 20 years (albeit within the bigger macro shift from f-2-f delivery), the possible impact of AI being bigger for HR than L&D and more.

“Microsoft Power Up Program” – first impressions

I have recently been accepted into cohort 3 of the Microsoft Power Up Program (MPUP).

Microsoft Power Up Program enables non-tech professionals to successfully advance into a new career path in low-code application development using Microsoft Power Platform

I have played around with a few of the no/low code tools in O365/M365 (and some non-Microsoft tools) so I am looking forward to this program to learn more and formalize skills in this area.


The initial setup is not as easy as might be expected. Rather than using my corporate M365 account, or my personal one for that matter, I received a new account just for the MPUP. Due to the difficulty in switching between M365 accounts, I have setup using the MPUP’s platform in a different browser to what I normally use. The temporary password having to be changed before accessing the platform.

This is of course a well known issue for anyone working in learning tech – you need to make things simple and, sometimes, SSO options can actually complicate things (less of an issue for a control audience like internal staff in a corporate L&D environment).


Microsoft’s potential impact on the learning tech market has been a topic ever since I starting working in learning (15+ years). The potential that 100s of commercial LMS could be destroyed by a real MS market entry has presumably been in the risk section of many such corporations’ long term planning. More recently, the Viva Learning approach has suggested something of a hybrid model with a MS approach (Viva) bringing 3rd-party LMS content/experiences into Teams and elsewhere.

Therefore, it is always interesting to do MS courses/online learning and see what their approach is. In this case it would seem they are using Adobe products (I’m not sure if this is a common partnership across other things?). Therefore in relation to first impressions this post relates both to the Microsoft approach but also Adobe’s service – under the auspice of “” (I presume these are Captivate Prime URLs?).

The introduction section included a number of videos outlining the curriculum structure. This outlined the self-study (videos, exercises, quiz, etc) and synchronous (online Q&A) structure. The video introducing the LMS is nearly 12 minutes long (!). Ultimately this feels way too long. There is then a whole video on how discussion boards work – now I appreciate discussion boards might not be familiar to all (especially younger) web users but my oh my this is a way to till kill interest in a learning experience.

The next step was then to setup Power Apps access. The course includes a workflow chart to explain the 3 accounts you will need to have and how you will need to be working between 2 browsers. No doubt this is natural to MS admins but the need for a workflow graphic just to explain access would suggest this is all a bit overwhelming. Ultimately you end up needing a “learner” browser for the LMS and a “developer” browser for the Power Apps access. However, you are soon then into using content which is ANOTHER system. I appreciate this is reuse of content but its a mess of a user/learner experience. Even worse, I am pretty sure I have done some of these Microsoft Learn components before but that was on a different machine/browser. Worse again the Learn content has a mix of approaches – in some areas you get a VM to work on via a login process, in other areas you are expected in login to a PowerApps system yourself.

Hopefully things will get smoother now up and running…

This really is “Web 4.0”

If you look online there are some quite messy descriptions of what Web 3.0 and 4.0 are.

3.0 is sometimes seen as AI driven but is more typically linked to the evolutions around blockchain and crypto (depending where you look AI might still be 3 and wider adoption of metaverse is 4.0). If we take 4.0 as where we are now – with AI tools proliferating – I have to say it feels like the kind of change we saw with 2.0 in c.2006-2008.

I was lucky with 2.0 as a lot of the buzz was at the same time as me studying for my MA. The team at Sheffield University did a good job of considering where some of the more interactive, social and co-authored web features would change the world. I look back at this as an exciting time where we saw a real shift towards full adoption of the web – Facebook became ubiquitous, video was shared online not on CD, online file storage evolved to a more usable set of tools and many other changes.

Now it is easy again to come across multiple exciting new tools everyday – a number of which eat away at traditional work (see a LinkedIn post from me on this) or, indeed, the types of tools we have seen evolve since the buzz around 2.0. What seems to have been lost in the noise around “AI” and the claims, rightly or wrongly of how AI is used in a lot of these new tools, is that this is just plain exciting. Personally I am not in the “fear” camp with this – we are seeing incredible novel and innovative AI that should make all our lives better.

Thinking again on Recruitment

My last post on this topic was back in 2018 so, as I have been doing a lot of advertising and (attempted) recruiting in the last 9(ish) months, I thought I would put some more reflective thoughts down here.

9 months?

Yes, it has taken a while. We have basically been looking for someone since I was promoted last June. The delay has been due to various factors – including that it took a while to get confirmation of being able to hire and then I have been ill a few times (including more recently thanks to some bronchitis – yay!).

Within that time frame we have then had various attempts at hiring – interviewing a few people, readvertising with tweaked job descriptions, etc.


As was the case in 2018, the candidates applying have been hugely varied in terms of background, experience, etc.

We were perhaps looking for too much in terms of experience and qualifications but have tried to hold out for someone who has a good mix of those as well as (of course) someone who comes across well in interview, by email, via written application, on telephone calls with HR, etc.

The horrible bit

The bit that is not good about recruiting is obviously saying “no” to people. There have been a lot of candidates who probably would have been fine in role and probably would have fit in. Even applying models to the recruitment process still means you can making decisions on the minutia. There are no guarantees in this game and it was particularly harsh on some candidates in our final round as there were four or five I would have hired if building a team from scratch.

I have been on the rejected side of the recruitment process a lot over the years. It sucks. Hopefully I am a better interviewer than many people I have met…

The good bit

Learning and development is a relatively small world so I do enjoy interviewing as an opportunity to meet people and discuss roles, interests and the like. Hopefully those coming away from the process unsuccessful are not too disheartened from the experience of meeting me.

Reset your PCs!

Perhaps as my Windows user experience goes back to the 90s, when you didn’t want to lose your hard drive’s files and scan disk/defrag seemed to work quite well, I have rarely reset a PC. However, I have been having a lot of performance issues with my personal PC and, whilst I presumed this was age/hardware related, a full Windows reset seems to have massively helped!

The reset was actually quite a painless experience – OneDrive houses most of my files (I have realised I lost a few that must have been saved elsewhere but nothing too important), Chrome has all my bookmarks and passwords synced, Steam and other apps have my gaming libraries to reinstall, etc. All in all I will probably try and reset my machine quite frequently going forward, looking online it seems a lot of people suggest every six months.

Therefore, dear reader, if you are having PC problems – take the leap of faith and do the reset. It might just save you lots of time and money (if, like me, you were on the verge of thinking you needed a new machine).