Archive for September, 2009

The 9/26 Economist: an essay on Business Schools

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


Concur with author that there needs to be a change in these institutions as well, especially the study of economic history. Shouldn’t higher education ultimately be about doing good for those at large who finance these educations? I don’t believe that the resentment and disbelief has yet occurred in full towards those who have so mismanaged or abused their stewardship of the various entities with which they were entrusted. Here is link to Mr. Schumpeter’s essay:

Federer’s footwork: he claims its fitness.

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Interesting graphical video on the key to Roger Federer’s success.

My kind of social media or medium

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

My job is to think about and to discuss the potential of newer Internet tools to better connect businesses to their constituents. It’s a tough sell to persuade business school educated executives that the likes of Facebook and Twitter are making a permanent difference. The only rock that I am able to cling to is the example of Apple’s iTunes as it didn’t sell a song ten years ago and now rules the music distribution business without much complaint by its own customers. I find the resistance to this trend of facilitating people to people connections to be as curious as I find the eruption of confidence in the stock market over the past three or four months with a 50% improvement in the market’s performance. Maybe we over-corrected and are just getting to the level of proper adjustment since the collapse in 9/08?! My personal evidence of the sluggish state of things is the merchants with whom I speak in our RTP: one hotel near RTP is down more than 50% in room-nights over the past year and the barber says that the back-to school-cuts for women and college girls is no where near usual levels. And the dollar for travelers is at a one year low. The flights may be inexpensive to Europe, the coffee and accommodations will not be upon arrival. Pessimistic nature accounted, I’d prefer a sober assessment of our financial plight and a call for true common sacrifice – a plan with goals and measurements such as taxing gasoline so that we may wean ourselves of foreign oil dependency.

One bright spot is that I find people willing and eager to congregate. Mr. Sugar fulfilled his ambition of a Long Table dinner comprised of loosely connected attendees (word spread by Twitter). The table wasn’t long and the food was cooked elsewhere and we’ll have to see if the community wants to perpetuate this notion. I enjoyed telling my story of the Stolen Oldsmobile for my 10th birthday (King’s birthday) and hearing the tale of the unplanned attendance by Julie Child at an Atlanta, Georgia dinner party. Last night, our RTP hosted one its periodic Techie Tuesdays, an effort to connect the workers who labor behind the pine tree buffers. Both good efforts in an important moment where trust and confidence, if not inspiration, is eagerly, if not desperately, sought.
Techie Tuesday on left; Inaugural Long Table on the right.

1st day of Autumn

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Tempo in the technology sales sphere picks up. Four customer related briefings yesterday and several last week. I’m trying to figure-out why middle aged IT execs don’t embrace the potential of social media or Web 2.0?! They acknowledge that something is going on, mostly as they observe their children’s habits, and yet make little related progress or effort.

One reason could be that I’m speaking to IT execs. Two recent meetings with marketing staff, a combined total of 23 attendees revealed that 22 used iPhones. In one meeting of 11, each attendee of a range of ages had one! I spoke to 90+ IT execs last week, 7 had iPhones and the audience agreed that Social Media is only the new wrapper for relationship building.

Yesterday, an energy company expressed interest in meeting with me for a briefing because of the 200 interns that they hired for the past summer, 195 in their program evaluation forms expressed dismay at the absence or recommended that this company offer Facebook and Linked-In and You Tube access to employees. This wired demographic approaches with quite different expectations of work and relationships than even their parents.

Maybe I should resurrect the notion of the sea-change in technology introduction brought on by the CD-ROM in the early 1990s. I believe that it could be argued that this was the first really useful item of business productivity brought to the office from home. Prior, phone, mobile phones, typewriters, monitors, computers et al were brought home from the office. In the span of less than one generation, mom and dad look into the basement or den or children’s bedroom for insight into the future tools of their office environment. I know that I do. And lately, I am impressed with how much You Tube video that my teenage son looks at to learn about music or sports or even – ready for this – his schoolwork.

I try to comfort my customers about the potential of social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook by suggesting that these are indeed quite fundamental, maybe even crude, but so was the personal computer in the early eighties. I recall a manufacturing expert at the largest of computer companies (at that time) telling me that he did not own a PC because it only seemed useful for “collecting recipes and writing letters (printed on that dot matrix, tabbed paper device). At that time, who could have envisioned having two applications open such as word processing and a spreadsheet, much less global interconnectivity of these machines or the form-factor being smaller than a calculator of that time. Here’s one: my first HP caluculator cost nearly $500 in 1973; my 16gb iPhone cost $200 in 2008. And the iPhone includes a decent calculator.
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At the US Open.

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Great promo by Olympus.