The CEO as Protector of the Brand

In 1985 I was asked by Jack Welch of GE to advise him on his role as Protector of the Brand at GE. This was at a critical time when the GE brand had been directly attacked by the US Government.

Today we are witnessing a battle of religious brands just as we watched a battle of cola, hamburger and PC brands in the 80s. Coke vs Pepsi. Mircosoft vs Apple. Macdonalds vs Burger King. Catholic vs Islam. Taxi vs Uber. etc

The Catholic CEO, Pope Francis, is a strategic case study to behold (click for Wharton interview) …

Your portable necktop computer, your brain, is a vast network of 86 billion parallel processors.

istock_000009414600xsmallApparently I was the first to coin the term necktop computer.

In the eighties, while on the lecture circuit in the US and Europe, I was invited to give the keynote address to a series of IBM executive conferences in Monte Carlo to launch IBM’s very first PC! I introduced cvs2bvs as ‘software for the brain’ and referred to the brain as a ‘necktop computer’. It highly amused the executives in the audience, so I kept it in my talks for a laugh.

By 1989 I had written it up in a best-selling book entitled Software For Your Brain and now it’s common currency.

You and I, with our human brains are so preposterously over endowed with thinking hardware that it’s almost impossible to comprehend.

But let’s try …

What if you were the major shareholder of the world’s most intelligent enterprise, a network of 86 billion computers linked together as parallel processors, producing a vast intellectual output of global messaging?

Well, you are!

Take a closer look. The atoms of your brain are called nerve cells or neurons. Each neuron is your fundamental intellectual unit — an information-processing system. The basic product of these units is: messaging.

Neurons are perfectly designed messaging systems. They have two ends: a receiving end and a transmitting end (or an input end and an output end). At the receiving end each of your neurons has a convenient tree-like system of dendrites — input wires — which can receive information from other neurons. A neuron may receive messages in from thousands of other neurons and may, in turn, send its messages out to thousands of other neurons.

The Science of Addiction Author: Elizabeth A. Conte, LPC, LCADC

Messages In and Messages Out

Suppose we call a message in, a MI. And, a message out, a MO. So we have MIs and MOs.

A neuron receives MIs (messages in) from other neurons. It then sends a MO, a brief electrical pulse lasting about a thousandth of a second along its output wire, the axon. Axons are like ‘telegraph wires’ that transmit electrical signals along

their own length. At the end of its wire the axon’s electrical signal is transformed into a chemical output — a neurotransmitter.

A neurotransmitter is a package of chemical information which has an effect on the neuron that receives it in much the same way that a SMS text message or an email is a package of information which has an effect on you when you receive it. The way this chemical package effects the neuron receiving it is by causing a change in its electro-chemical activity.

To Send or Not To Send, That’s the Decision

Just as you may or may not respond to an email or text you receive, your neuron behaves the same way. Sometimes a neuron responds to a MI. Sometimes it doesn’t. When a particular cell sends out its own MO signal it’s because it has received enough MIs from other cells to exceed a threshold amount.

Thus each of your nerve cells acts as a tiny decision unit. If the incoming messaging is above a certain level, it responds with a MO. If not, it stays silent. If your neuron does respond to its incoming messages, we say it is excited, if it stays silent, we say it is inhibited.

You have more than a trillion neurons — tiny molecular computers. Like other computers, they have a broad selection of MOs that they can send out. Each of your neurons acts as a unit of control receiving MIs and sending MOs within the distributed network you call your brain and nervous system. Each of these units is processing its inputs/outputs at the same time as are all the other units, so they achieve ‘parallel computation’.

Your brain is the ultimate parallel processor! Its billions of parallel processing units are constantly taking in information MIs. These messages are processed and changed. Then new information MOs are sent out all over the global network. Your brain is the supreme intelligent enterprise.

And guess what, YOU are the major shareholder!