Archive for May, 2009

IBM 701 & 7 shares become $150,000.00

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Mentioned the privilege of luncheon with Oliver Smithies. While standing about, I met a senior chemical executive and renown scientist in his own right. We discussed my work at IBM. He quickly offered that he was among the first civilians to work on IBM’s series 701 computer, the first one available with addressable memory because of an improved design from punch cards to electronic memory. He recalled the day that he travelled to Madison Avenue in New York City to run his calculations. ‘Worked the first time that I tried, unlike the old days when a faulty vacuum tube would crash the entire calculation.” 141511

He purchased seven (7) shares of IBM stock. “Cost over $100 each, even in 1953″. I asked if he still had them. “Yes,” he replied cheerfull, “the same seven shares are worth more than $150,000.”

IASP2009 Prep: Dr. Oliver Smithies speaks @ RTP TARDC

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009


Yesterday, we observed first hand the incredible abundance of science in our RTP. Within one hour and only a few miles from each lecture, we had the choice of hearing two Nobel Laureates speak: Dr. Oliver Smithies at RTP’s TARDC or Dr. Andrew Fire at NIEHS.

WE chose the hometown favorite, UNC’s Dr. Smithies, at the new RTP headquarters for the monthly TARDC luncheon (TARDC was founded 35 years ago to bring together Research Directors from across our Research Triangle Park, e.g. Triangle Area Research Directors Council).

Dr. Smithies was charming, clever, informative, inspiring and genuine. I suppose this is what one means when another is defined as ‘brilliant.’ He spoke fondly of his mentor, A.G. Ogston ending the lecture with a quote of Dr. Ogston’s:

“For Science is more than the search for truth, more than a challenging game, more than a profession. It is a life that a diversity of people lead together, in the closest proximity, a school for social living. We are members of one another.”

As the science parks from around the world convene next month to discuss their next generation of interconnection, Dr. Ogston’s quote could remind us of Dr. Smithies’s advice that a “key to scientific success is to keep simple the goals of each experiment.”

US Military Academy Leadership Breakfast Series

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Flattered to be invited as the inaugural speaker for the USMA’s RTP Chapter Leadership Breakfast Program. Next month’s discussion will be led by Duke’s Men’s Basketball Coach, Mike Krzyzewski, followed in autumn by General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General John Moellering, Chairman USAA. Sometimes it pays to be the first over the side.

Web 2.0 Tools & Techniques
– Web 1.0 was about Presence & Publication
– Web 2.0 is about Participation moving from millions of customers & dozens of markets to millions of markets comprising dozens of customers
– Knowledge is no longer power as Everybody knows. How can each of us and each of our organizations become facilitators of everyone knowing.
– the delivery device will be a mobile device / smart phone, especially for the evolving customer demographic

Financial recovery will follow-up sequence of: Restoring Liquidity (via debt); Re-capitalization; increased Merger & Acquisition activity; focus on Customer. Customer retention will be paramount and customers will have many, many options.

For project funding, product or service will have to fulfill one of several categories: 1) record time to cost-recovery or ROI, usually less than 9 months; 2) facilitates Transformation of the fundamental business model whether people, process or technologies; 3) enable the enterprise to be more Innovative. Innovation does not have to be large and radical, could be incremental and small so long as it provides competitive advantage.

Reviewed recent IBM Global Services study Toward Transparency and Sustainability (email me for copy: Recommend 18 May 09 New Yorker article which overviews financial crisis. Entitled: Death of Kings.

Photo is view from breakfast meeting. Not exactly the home office view.

The Andy Griffith Parkway leads to Brown University

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Mothers Day on Reeve Drive in Mount Airy. Beautiful afternoon after the thunderstorms of Saturday. Sat awhile with Uncle Jimmy the bass player who owns the pest control business, a Viet Nam Medic. Spoke with Uncle Doug about the hazards as a driver for Fed Ex between North Carolina and Ohio, ‘careless drivers of 3,500 lb. automobiles should respect the laws of force & motion when they cut in front of 60,000 lb. tractor-trailers.’ Papa lives on his mother’s property across the driveway from Aunt Brenda who lives in her mother’s house. Drove around the corner to Chile’s for take-out dinner for the mothers Teresa, Sandra, Megan and Grandma. Spoke to the cousins who are teachers and now parents about the challenges and restrictions on being teachers. Aunt Brenda and Aunt Netty discovered a baby dove fallen from its nest 12 feet up in the sycamore tree. Mother dove visited routinely to feed this baby. Because of the cats, organized a 5 man working party to retrieve Papa’s ladder and we restored the baby dove to its nest. A fitting deed on Mothers Day. Shared gifts for the occasion and for Grandma’s birthday on the day before, nine books and a dvd series of British mystery. Cousin Jimmy vanished without a fuss and Uncle Doug departed to visit his mother’s grave site. Aunt Linda called as we packed up to go.

As we waved our goodbyes, Aunt Brenda reappeared to say that we missed Missy and that Chrisy would soon arrive. “Can’t stay and please tell Lori’s family “hi”.” Quickly asked about Chase who will soon graduate from the local high school. “Oh, Aunt Brenda said, he was really hoping for Columbia … even though Duke and Vassar offer him scholarships, he’s accepted the one from Brown. His mother was really hoping that he would accept the one from Duke.” What else could you expect?!

Nice people serious about their parking.

Midshipmen, Officers and Lacrosse Players

Monday, May 11th, 2009

It was Navy weekend with the NROTC commissioning ceremonies at both NC State and Duke Universities. Gratifying to be around so many purposeful young men and women and their inspiringly proud parents. Observing 12 young midshipmen take the oath of office then promoted to Ensigns and hearing of their assignments to nuclear submarines, airplane squadrons and the Medical Corps excited me about the intriguing futures in store for each and diminished the weight of the prevailing befuddling stream of economic news.

After these Friday ceremonies, we prepared for a BBQ and the Navy vs Duke lacrosse match as part of the NCAA tournament. A vicious thunderstorm forced us inside without much loss of our spirits, but whatever good mood remained was completely dispelled when Duke ran off 10 unanswered goals in the first period. Even John Paul Jones might have struck his colors at that point. As Yankee Yogi would say, ‘it got late early for Navy.’

Duke is off to Annapolis next weekend to play UNC in the second round of this championship! The schools are 20 minutes apart and will drive 11 hours round-trip for a 90 minute game. Go Green Movement! Of course, both are happy to be in the final 8 no matter where the field.

Lacrosse participation is certainly on the rise as the Duke players appeared larger, faster and more skilled. Thirty years ago, the Navy had the larger and faster players keeping them competitive even when they were not as skilled. I’m sure that the distribution of talent into our corps of naval and marine officers follows an opposite trend, more talent is drawn from a smaller pool of interested parties.

In both the commissioning ceremonies and the lacrosse game, one had to both entertained and satisfied that there is wealth of talented and capable youth readying to relieve the watch.