Archive for June, 2010

What would Charles de Gaulle do?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

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“Without an effort to regain control, without the sacrifice it requires and the hope it entails, we will remain a country that lags behind, swinging continually between drama and mediocrity”

The safest ship: Leadership. Where fore art thou?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

BP CEO off to a yacht race amidst the unstoppable mess in the Gulf. Umpires and referees get in the way of a perfect game (Armando Galarraga) and a legitimate game-winnng goal in the World Cup (USA vs Slovena). The indisputable need for restructuring of our financial, health and education systems seems to spiral inconclusively as those charged with our laws and their enforcement behave as though they never thought that their job descriptions really meant how they read. What can one rely on?

As a New Orleanian (Y’at describes us better), Holy Name, Jesuit, Uptown – cue the Krewe of Comus ball theme (ha, not us), I marvel that Hurricane Katrina did not sufficiently impress our nation about the imperative need to take responsibility and to prepare for the suspect and the predictable. So, the gods sent us the disaster-fiasco-crime of the violated Gulf of Mexico with the face of BP, nee the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Now we can add the ugly death of the Gulf’s wetlands to our roster of Staring and Hoping for Painless Change Wrought by Someone Else.

By my count, there are plenty of yellow and red cards to award to many in addition to BP (whose stock at $32/share is a good 3 to 5 year buy in my opinion). Fill out your own list of culprits. My first entry is the jaw-dropping statistic that 30% of our country is medically classified as obese! Consumption of its varied manifestations is bankrupting us in the voyage to early demise. Where to start? Call it the Cheyenne Manifesto of Not Complaining or Blaming until you can answer ‘yes’ to the following:

1. Do you actively manage your health by being active?
2. Do you know the names of your state senator and city council rep?
3. Can you live off of the power grid for 7 to 30 days? In Winter?
4. Do you have enough cash on hand to maintain, as is, the family’s lifestyle for 6 months?
5. Do you know by name the five neighbors on each side of you and across the street?

As I write this diatribe, I realize that those who may read this are not the ones that need to read this. I suppose that the more useful question is:

Are you involved in a program or project at a school, within the community or professional association that provides guidance and example for people who seek to improve themselves?

Whadaya think of the new iPhone?

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

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As a device, I marvel at its elegance and capability so far beyond the sorts of devices that telephone companies have sold me over the past 15 years. I had a WorldCom phone once that required four screens to get to the address book. I do wish that Nokia was a stronger player as I usually admire the simple elegance of their devices. My teenage son prefers his call & text only Nokia to a hand-me-down iPhone.

One of Blue Pane’s senior developers believes that Microsoft should not be counted-out in the mobility arena if their late and strong entry into the game box (X-box) market should be taken as a sign of their strength when focused. I feel that Apple’s advantage is that they have a clear vision of what is the value of mobile communications or computing much more than an advantage of design or engineering skill in producing portable telephones.

Not so much has been made of their advertising on the phone strategy, iAds. In customer discussions since the advent of the iPhone, I’ve suggested that the ambition of Google, Apple, Microsoft, even Yahoo is to be a mediator of search on the mobile device so that they will reap the attendant advertising revenues. iAds and the FaceTime feature (video chat over a wi-fi network) promise the prospect for a new way of shopping and solving problems. To me, it could be the Apple Store’s authoritative, personal touch brought to the mobile device.

Let’s talk about BP and the oil mess in the Gulf in a related manner. BP professed good corporate citizenship – which I believe to be sincere – and then bought-up every url related to the disaster so that they could control the discussion. Of course, this failed and became a source of major media (sic) discussion portraying them as manipulators which harms their reputation even more. It’s a world of everyone knows and sometimes or too many times inaccurately knows. The opportunity or wonder of the improvements in mobile computing, e.g. iPhones, Droids, iPads, Twitter…., is that we can help each other to know accurately and timely. We have to start by distinguishing in-control from the fear of not being in control and sincerely trusting by enabling those whom we purport to serve.

I’m almost embarrassed by being such a champion of Apple’s products (really, it’s philosophy). I find them such a comfort and inspiration as I see too many once reliable institutions sliding into the ditch.

If they made ‘em like this, they’d still be around

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

This time it’s Mercury, although I wondered forever why Ford offered competing brands. Cool, though, was my high school classmate Randy Gonzalez’s push-button transmission on his Mercury Comet- a red convertible, no less. Great names in those days also; better, in my view, than XC 90 or C-Class or 9.5 of today’s models.

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WSJ on Perception of Chief Information Officer

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

One from the Wall Street Journal on 24 May 2010 about the perception of the Chief Information Officer

Section below from this article. As Shelly Lazarus, former CEO of Olgivy & Mather, once suggested to a CIO Conference, “the purpose of technology is to promote the Brand.” Rings true, yet both the lines of business and the IT Departments tend to treat one another as utility consumers and utility providers. Imagine asking the local electric company, “what sort of dishwasher should I purchase?” Except in the corporation, you get the dishwasher selected by IT based upon their perception of utility and form.

1. Does your CIO understand the company’s business strategy and take the lead in determining how technology can help your business achieve its goals?

2. Is your CIO able to think like a senior executive and see the big picture, without getting lost in the details of a problem?

3. Is your CIO an effective communicator, possessing strong questioning, presentation and influence skills?

4. Is your CIO out in front of every major emerging technology, educating senior executives on what each technology does and what it means for the company?

5. Is your CIO skilled at building strong relationships with colleagues at work?

If you answered no to any of these questions, your CIO hasn’t fully developed the broad business understanding, strategic vision and interpersonal skills that it takes to run a company or at least play a bigger role in running one. To acquire or polish those skills, the CIO needs to take part whenever possible in company and other executive-development programs and take the initiative to learn about every aspect of the company’s business by talking to managers from other departments.

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WXDU Playlist 30 May 2010

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

I’ve been doing shows for four semesters. This experience has become a sort of survey course in contemporary music, its origins and its styles or forms. I’ve expanded my own library and gained the confidence that just because a song may be new or even popular, it is not necessarily ‘good music.’ I prefer the Duke’s categorization that ‘there are only two kinds of music, good music and the other kind.’ My show on Sunday worked well especially for a 10am slot on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

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