how did we get here?

Well, I can’t even come close to answering that. But there are a couple of people, in the know, who are doing a pretty good job of it. One of those people is Paddy Hirsch. In his presentation, he uses the analogy of filling champagne bottles. I originally saw this on Nati Shalom’s (of GigaSpaces fame) post, Financial crisis explained. If you have some time (about 6 minutes), definitely take a look.

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I like to say the name of the person I am speaking to… I have no idea why, it just seems right. OK, that’s not a big thing — many people do it. The real problem is it takes me longer than most to remember a person’s name. This can be a real problem; especially, if you like to say person’s name before starting a conversation. You tend to sound like a moron.

One of two things happens. Maybe you blurt out their names like you just caught them stealing pudding. That’s not a disarming quality. The other possibility is you blank and insert a huge pause after the words “Hey…”. That’s nice. After an uncomfortable 2-3 seconds you announce their names like someone just handed you a cue card. Disgusting.

I’ve thought of a simple solution. I did this back in ‘04: don’t say names. Just don’t. Let me explain: if the name of the person is not required, don’t say it! If it’s required, don’t speak to them until you have the names clear in your head. Oh, and take a pause before you say the name. Without the pause, it comes out like you’ve been waiting to tell them a secret. I remember a lot of stuff (some good, some crap), but names give me the hardest time.

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are you really surprised?

OK, Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama… If you are a sentient being, this should not be a surprise to you. Powell was made a scapegoat for one for one of the greatest blunders in modern US history. By people who he, at least at one time, called friends. An accomplished son of the Bronx, Powell spent decades building his legacy. Only to have it torn down with a presentation to the UN. Powell makes it no secret where he stands on the Iraq war:

In July 2007 Powell revealed that he spent two and a half hours trying to persuade George W. Bush not to invade Iraq but that he did not prevail. At the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado Powell stated, “I tried to avoid this war. I took him [Bush] through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers.”

So, are you really surprised?

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

collaboration now

I watched the entire Business of Innovation series and found it pretty informative. So, I tuned to the premiere of Collaboration Now, hosted by Donny Deutsch. It was pretty good. One item that piqued my interest was the mention of cloud computing. Thanks to firms like amazon, firms needing more computing power and storage space, can get it at a relatively small price. As a member of the choir, I’ve always thought that systems like Kazaa and Napster were just the tip of the iceberg. Now that cloud and grid-based computing is becoming more mainstream – no longer relegated to p2p file-sharing and academia – true collaboration is on the horizon.

Another interesting item is Cisco’s Tele-Presence technology. Wow – this thing looks impressive. Three high-definitions screen linked to some high powered machines making for a secure, almost-holographic meeting… Check this Wikipedia page for more Tele-presence applications. It looks great. It also looks expensive. I think most people will stick with Skype and Web-Ex for a bit. Overall, this series looks very promising.

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fonts and stuff…

Eric Burke’s Blog has a post talking about finding the best font for his comics. OK, One comment brought a superior tool to light: Honestly, I’ve needed this thing for years.

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thank you, purdue university…

Here’s a great writing tool I found @ Purdue University. I’m going to add this to my helpful links… Simply because it is.

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t-mobile g1

Finally, if you were looking for a actual piece of hardware for your Android apps, here it goes: the T-Mobile G1. It’s not too shabby.

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first impressions…

OK, it’s been a few solid weeks at Digital River. I have to say, I’m impressed. I love the amenities! I’m not saying it’s Google – but I will say it’s Google-like. The daily catered menus are all subsided. So lunch is about $3. There’s free dry cleaning. Fully equipped fitness rooms in 2 of the 3 sites. In one of them, there’s a full-time personal trainer on staff.

One of the main reasons I came here was simply to learn (within a given context). This place makes it real easy. The development group takes full responsibility of making sure its developers are prepared. Since I’ve arrived, I’ve been enrolled in sessions where a developer explains an existing module, technology, etc. All interactive, so you can ask anything and everything. If that wasn’t enough, they have an in-house university: a department dedicated to knowing everything about the products. If they don’t know, they know how to find out.

The underlying architecture is indicative of serious growth. The number of transactions processed a day require some serious ingenuity. You can’t simply throw a few more server instances out there – that’s short sighted. I love the stories of how these types of problems arise, and someone smart would innovative something unheard.

Anyway, Digital River is way beyond its startup days. There are remnants of that culture, which is nice. Overall, so far, so good.

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truly, the best fight scene ever…


Posted in Funny | 6 Comments

business of innovation

There’s great series on CNBC called the Business of Innovation, hosted by the Maria Bartiromo. In the episode, Innovate of Die, Mel Kamarzin (CEO of Sirius Radio), gives some insight into how he’s been such an innovating forces for so long.

One was simply a fear of failure. I like that, a lot. Both Maria and the panel pressed him on this. But he stuck to his guns. Regardless of the amount of success everyone else thinks he’s achieved, he never thinks to himself, “I’ve arrived”. That’s a simple, yet extremely powerful idea. At CBS he had over 125,000 employees, and now he only has about 1,000. He made it clear that we’d be hard-pressed to find someone who knew him at both times, that would say he’d changed.

Another factor, which I’ve personally seen in older people, is needing less and less sleep. He quipped, “There’s very few advantages to being old; but one of the advantages is while everyone else is sleeping, I’m awake, ‘innovating’.” First off, being 65 just makes you older, not old. However, this does ring true. Regardless of age, the most successful people I’ve met or seen speak, sleep very little. Now having this trait alone will not lead to success. No, quite the opposite: It’ll simply drain you. This should come as a by product of your drive. It should be the result of your innate thirst for success.

Overall, it’s a pretty good series. Full episodes are available at the each episodes main page. You can start here.

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