When Will this Low-Innovation Internet Era End? – Justin Fox – Harvard Business Review
Provocative view. Lots of good linked content.
“It’s an age of unprecedented, staggering technological change. Business models are being transformed, lives are being upended, vast new horizons of possibility opened up. Or something like that. These are all pretty common assertions in modern business/tech journalism and management literature.
Then there’s another view, which I heard from author Neal Stephenson in an MIT lecture hall last week. A hundred years from now, he said, we might look back on the late 20th and early 21st century and say, “It was an actively creative society. Then the Internet happened and everything got put on hold for a generation.””
Citigroup’s massive scalability challenges, by the numbers – Cloud Computing News
Massive scale measured in business terms: trillions of $
“$12.5 trillion. That’s the amount of customer money for which Benjamin’s half of Citi is responsible. About a quadrillion dollars worth of transactions flow through his system every year.”
The Creative Monopoly – NYTimes.com
“[Thiel’s] lecture points to a provocative possibility: that the competitive spirit capitalism engenders can sometimes inhibit the creativity it requires.
Think about the traits that creative people possess. Creative people don’t follow the crowds; they seek out the blank spots on the map. Creative people wander through faraway and forgotten traditions and then integrate marginal perspectives back to the mainstream. Instead of being fastest around the tracks everybody knows, creative people move adaptively through wildernesses nobody knows.”
Now think about the competitive environment that confronts the most fortunate people today and how it undermines those mind-sets.
Beyond the 10,000 Hour Rule: Richard Hamming and the Messy Art of Becoming Great
“”Great scientists tolerate ambiguity very well,” Hamming says. “They believe the theory enough to go ahead; [but] they doubt it enough to notice the errors and faults so they can step forward and create the new replacement theory.”
This is perhaps the most important advice from among Hamming’s many suggestions. The path to excellence requires this balance between confidence and doubt, and though this balance is challenging, it’s tractable so long as your recognize what you’re facing.”
The Flight From Conversation – NYTimes.com
“WE expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship. Always-on/always-on-you devices provide three powerful fantasies: that we will always be heard; that we can put our attention wherever we want it to be; and that we never have to be alone. Indeed our new devices have turned being alone into a problem that can be solved.”
Archives for April 2012
Dear Data entrepreneurs, I’ll choose my own movie. Go study cancer. — Active Information
This week on active information, I excerpt and comment on a Kauffman Foundation report on healthcare that I found both enlightening and enraging.
“Why is it we can predict a consumer’s propensity to read Hunger Games, upgrade their iPad or download music featured on the Voice, yet we fail miserably at predicting life-threatening events, such as a women’s propensity to develop breast cancer?”
The post: Data entrepreneurs, Ill choose my own movie. Go s… – Input Output.
Thanks to Joe McKendrick for pointing out the report.
Forrester: Forcing A New Role For CIOs & Dragging IT Out Of The Backrooms
John Brand of Forrester writes on the inevitable shift of CIOs and IT. I strongly agree with the following two points. We are in a systems-of-systems world. Organizations fighting this shift are swimming against the digital tide.
“There is no “big suite” solution. Over the past 30+ years, IT has thrived on the ideals of consolidation and centralisation. One system. One repository. One place to put stuff. If only I had a penny for every time I heard the phrase “we need a single repository”. For years Ive been saying that users dont care about where something lives. They care about how to access it. Its not about a single repository. Its about a seamless repository. Google doesnt hold the worlds information sources. Its merely appears to users like it does. Forget the big suites. The one system. The strategic vendor. Focus on the right tool for the right job. Focus on the fact that the job will change — and so should the tools. The building industry hasnt rested on its laurels because it thinks its found the one perfect set of materials, construction methods and tools to do every job. Why do we think in IT that theres only one vendor, one platform or one language that we need to deal with? Embrace diversity, but still maintain a focus on management. Continuous design will be a capability that every organization will need to learn. Its not about doing it “right” the first time. Its about continually doing it better and better.
Systems are no longer isolated — and neither are we. Over the last decade and a half, the world has connected — and interconnected — an amazing array of technologies. We are now all completely dependent on each other. And so are our systems. Our newer systems are not built on batch uploaded data sets that we can control and cleanse — but on masses of big data that we need to extract meaning and structure from. We cant have the luxury of first defining a structure and populating data into it. We must work with what we have or what we can get. Fast.”
via The Empowered BT Era Will Force Yes, Force A New Role For CIOs – And Drag IT Out Of The Backrooms | Forrester Blogs.
I’m attending Forrester’s co-located CIO and EA Forums next week in Vegas. Will blog and tweet what I hear. Look me up if you are there.
Link Collection — April 22, 2012
Stealing Computer Code Isn’t Theft, Court Rules – Input Output
“The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the taking of source code by Sergey Aleynikov was not a crime under a 1996 law that makes it illegal to steal trade secrets because the code did not qualify as stolen goods under another federal law because it was not physical “goods” or “wares” or “merchandise.” He had taken high-frequency trading computer code from Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank where he worked, as he was about to start a new job at Teza Technologies, a startup in the same business, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In particular, the code did not “become” stolen property even when Aleynikov saved it to a flash drive, a tangible device, noted Waters Technology.
In addition, because the software was used internally rather than sold to other people, that meant it could not be subject to laws regarding interstate commerce, noted the New York Times.”
Why Netflix Never Implemented The Algorithm That Won The Netflix $1 Million Challenge | Techdirt
“We evaluated some of the new methods offline but the additional accuracy gains that we measured did not seem to justify the engineering effort needed to bring them into a production environment.
It wasn’t just that the improvement was marginal, but that Netflix’s business had shifted and the way customers used its product, and the kinds of recommendations the company had done, had shifted too. Suddenly, the prize winning solution just wasn’t that useful — in part because many people were streaming videos rather than renting DVDs — and it turns out that the recommendation for streaming videos is different than for rental viewing a few days later.”
Amazon launches cloud app store (and eats ecosystem?) — Cloud Computing News
“From Amazon’s perspective it’s easy to see why the marketplace idea was so appealing. Letting users launch fully configured versions of popular products in a single click is a compelling feature, especially for complex software that isn’t easily deployed in the cloud (or at all). For its software-vendor partners, AWS Marketplace represents an opportunity to do SaaS without having to build a SaaS business or infrastructure.”
Ingineering.IT — DevOps, Technical Debt, and Adaptive Organizations
Reinvention Week, Prussian Officers and Smart & Lazy talent
Last Friday on Twitter, I was lamenting the compulsion of new people on existing projects to revisit and reinvent every prior decision and action, rather than focus their energy on execution. I tagged the tweets reinvention week. My opening salvos:
Wouldn’t it be cool if new people to a project focused on getting it done, rather than reinvention? #reinventionweek #EntArch
We need to value execution on par with creation. #entarch #reinventionweek
These sparked a conversation with Sally Bean and Neil Ward-Dutton on why this happens: ego, uncertainty, lack of communication and so on.
Certainly, there are instances when revisitation is required, and is the mission of the new person. However, in my experience, too frequently the need is driven by ego. Either, in placing a stamp on the project, or in moving the project to the technology, standards, patterns the new person is expert on, and therefore most likely to be seen as a star and/or become a key player.
In our twitter back and forth, Sally Bean offered: “that’s why we need to hire smart lazy people, not smart industrious ones.”
Sally was referring to Field Marshal Bernhard Graf von Moltke’s model on categorizing officers:
• Smart & Lazy: I make them my Commanders because they make the right thing happen but find the easiest way to accomplish the mission.
• Smart & Energetic: I make them my General Staff Officers because they make intelligent plans that make the right things happen.
• Dumb & Lazy: There are menial tasks that require an officer to perform that they can accomplish and they follow orders without causing much harm
• Dumb & Energetic: These are dangerous and must be eliminated. They cause thing to happen but the wrong things so cause trouble.
I hadn’t see this model before. It’s an interesting take on matching talent (or not) to positions. We always think we need “smart and energetic”. Yet, in a multitude of situations, “smart and lazy” is the better way to go.