First Day of the Analyst Meeting

Today was interesting. There was a fire drill that broke up the main tent, talk about not getting off to a stellar start.  It was good since the main speaker had 136 slides and the collective groan from the audience that an IBM executive could be that clueless was deafening.  Anybody that did return was just being polite. Everyone had checked out mentally.

I of course was in the overflow room so I wasn’t forced to sit through anything I didn’t want to hear, which is most of what the executives have to say.  How the analysts don’t bust us for pontificating is beyond me.  I think Steve Mills is great.  It was his team of idiots that gave him that many slides.  The GM’s that work for him are a bunch of blowhards that have ego’s we can hardly fit in a room together.  The best part is when Mills treats them like dirt which is appropriate given that’s how they treat everyone else.  How they got there has got to be because they have pictures of somebody or they just outlasted everyone else.  It isn’t because of their talent or leadership.

The exception is Buell Duncan who as always did a good job presenting, and it was a lively discussion with the analysts. All except one got the concept and saw we were heading in the right direction. I think he just wanted to hear himself talk.  Since James is from Redmonk, I gave him a pass as you can’t fix stupid and no one paid attention to him anyway.

One on Ones turned out to be very interesting. I always enjoy the depth of the conversations and how much can get done when you sit down and hash out a problem when you are sincerely trying to create a solution.

For the second year in a row, I got to eat dinner with Laurie M. and again it was a very enjoyable evening. We solved all of the meeting problems of how to make it more lively and interesting for the analysts. Ultimately, Zurich would be a better place than anywhere in Connecticut, and we should give away an i-Pod.

In the dinner line, I asked Rod Smith to be a blog interview, he wants to talk about Ajax and some upcoming things in that area. Talk about getting lucky. Look for that interview soon.

Tomorrow should be even better. We’ll be more relaxed and into the flow. I can’t wait for the open Q and A with all the GM’s on stage and any topic is fair game.  Plus, Mills abuses his GM’s the way they should be treated.  It is a treat for everyone.

Sayings by Will Rogers

Here are some very interesting rules to live by. Don’t think you have to be a cowboy to read this. Number 4 has worked best for me.

1. Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.
2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
3. There are 2 theories to arguing with a woman…neither works.
4. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
5. Always drink upstream from the herd.
6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
7. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put
it back in your pocket.
8. There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading.
The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the
electric fence and find out for themselves.
9. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes
from bad judgment.
10. If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every
now and then to make sure it’s still there.
11. Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n
puttin’ it back.
12. After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he
started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot
The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.


First – Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying
about your age and start bragging about it.
Second – The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in
line for.
Third – Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I
want people to know “why” I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and
some of the roads weren’t paved.
Fourth – When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to
youth, think of Algebra.
Fifth – You know you are getting old when everything either dries
up or leaks.
Sixth – I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to
the top.
Seventh – One of the many things no one tells you about aging is
that it is such a nice change from being young.
Eighth – One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day
has been.
Ninth – Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
Tenth – Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks,
it was called witchcraft. Today it’s called golf.

And finally – If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t
have anything to laugh at when you are old.

What I did on my Thanksgiving Break

I didn’t work. In fact, I went to Florida to see family and enjoy the time off.

I also had one of my best days of fishing in a long time recording 10 good Redfish and sighting many more at Mosquito Lagoon. You’ll notice from my clothes that it was cold that day starting in the 30’s with wind. But it’s a good thing we decided to go. We had the whole place to ourselves with the fish cooperating.

I caught fish just like these for 6 hours and had the time of my life. The picture on the right is Brad Stine, the guide who took me. Give him a call at 386-566-6823 and he’ll put you on fish.

Then I enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner with my whole family. We haven’t been together for various reasons (mostly travel and living in different cities) for a long time.

After dinner, I got to take a drive in my brother in law’s Porsche GT3. It’s a red rocket that will do 196 mph and stop on a dime, then give you 9 cents change. I won’t say how fast we went, but it was in mid triple digits….what a rush.

Thanks Geoff for the ride of my life.

Today's quiz

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. You don’t have to actually answer the questions Just read the e-mail straight through, and you’ll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners .

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with .

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care .

IBM Bloggers, Who are we? – Bob Sutor

I am most privileged to be able to offer this blog interview of Bob Sutor. Bob was one of the first links I had when I set up my first RSS feed, still a neophyte to the blogosphere. He has graciously agreed to my interview series for which I am most grateful.

This is a very interesting read, with subjects ranging from guitar’s to calculus and polynomials. If you think that PhD’s aren’t witty, read the story about his son at the Gartner conference. Being a Trekkie, I’d like to teleport also.

I asked some questions with analyst’s and open standards in mind, and you will find the answers most revealing.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job,)?
I’m the IBM VP for Standards and Open Source. Basically, this allows me to stick my nose into anything we’re doing on those topics. I work with my team to make sure that we have consistent management of these activities across all the business units in the company. I work closely with our intellectual property folks to ensure we are striking the right a balance between “open” and more traditional ways of doing things. Then I like to tell people about all this.

Some work experience that you want to tell?
I started work for IBM in 1982 when I was between my two stints in grad school. I spent 15 years in IBM Research working on “symbolic mathematical computation” (instead of thinking of a spreadsheet and what it does, think of a system that allows you to manipulate things like polynomials and matrices and do fancy calculus computations). My main job before working for IBM was a paper route. I was very involved in IBM’s early work on web servcies, particularly the standards bits and how we worked with other companies. Although I consider myself a technologist at heart, I spent almost two years as Director of Marketing for WebSphere.

Any hobbies or fun stuff you want to discuss?
After a 34 year hiatus, I started trying again to learn how to play the guitar last December. Progress is slow, but satisfying. I’m using it as an excuse to learn about music as well. I was always told that people who were good at mathematics were also good at music, but felt it didn’t apply to me. It still might not, but at least the evidence will be empirical rather than anecdotal. I do wish I had started a lot earlier.

How do you describe what you do in your work to your family and those who don’t work in our industry?
Last April I was on an Open Source panel at the Gartner conference in LA and I brought my (then) 7 year old son. He learned a fair bit about the ideas behind it but he really has no sense of, say, what enterprise software is. (He loves Firefox, by the way.) For people outside my immediate family, I tell them I help do things that make computer systems made by different people work together. By the way, the Gartner folks were really great to my son and gave him a badge with his name on it and the word “Companion” where the company name usually goes. He told me that when he grows up he is going to start a company called Companion so he can get into future conferences for free.

What are good things about your job?
I love the broad range of things I get to look at on an everyday basis. I also like working on things like the initiative we announced in October around use of our patents for healthcare and education standards. That is, when we get to do things that might change the direction of the industry, it’s really exciting.

What are things you would change?
Shorter, more efficient conference calls would be a good start. I like travelling and talking to customers, people in industry and government, but I wish that the actual travel time getting there and back wasn’t so consuming and tiring. I think often of Star Trek-like teleportation and wish we could have that today.

What are the biggest challenges at IBM?
Because of our size, there are so many things we do do and could possibly do. There is simply not enough time to do it all. Prioritization is therefore really important. I really value people who are good at that as well as being very efficient communicators. In the area in which I work, the world can change radically every six months. I also value people who accept if not thrive on that.

How did you get started as a blogger?
IBM developerWorks asked me to start a blog in August, 2004, when I was working in the WebSphere area on web services and SOA. I had written byliners for trades like CNet for a few years, so it was actually liberating to be able to say things on a more regular basis in more or fewer than 800 words. I also have a personal blog which is being sadly neglected, but I have big plans for it if I ever get some more free time.

How has that changed your job?
I’ve done probably 75% fewer press interviews but I get my views out more precisely and frequently. In addition to saying whatever I want to say to people outside IBM, I can also talk in a public way to people inside IBM via the blog. It gives me a chance to explain nuances of things to whomever might be interested. When I do meet new people in the industry or members of the media, I’ve often told that they’ve read my blog. That allows us to immediately jump in and discuss things at a deeper level without a lot of background explanation.

Since analysts read this, what would you like to say to them about Standards?
People need much more guidance on what the word “open” means. I think analysts need to start quantifying how open the various standards efforts are in areas like development, maintenance, accession, implementation, and ability to sub-or superset. That is, we need “openness report cards.” Not everyone will be on the honor role, but companies and governments are looking for this information today. As various people have said in business, it’s hard to change things if you can’t measure them.

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming years, either product or how you will work differently?
I’m looking for standards and open source to give me and other people a lot more options in how we get our work done.

Any thing else I missed you want to say?
I think it is really wonderful how something like the OASIS OpenDocument Format is breathing life into the office suite category of software. Standards and open source software themselves do not have to be immediately innovative in order to drive some really innovative and stimulating things downstream. In both of these areas, you must think of the work you do as being an investment in the future. If you take intelligent risks, you can reap big rewards. If you risk nothing or hang on to the status quo too long, others will move past you.

Mantenance update on my blog

Since I’m stuck between being content free and stuff I can’t say publicly, I decided to do maintenance work on my blog.

I’m starting with adding some links. Although I pick up a lot of IBM’rs through my IBM bloggers link, I’ve paid attention to some analyst comments that IBM’rs link to too many IBM’rs and not enough outsiders. I’ll take suggestions here.

After that, I may start breaking down my blogs based on themes I’ve noticed, like IBM, Karate, my dog and fishing.

Calm before the storm

We’re going into the Thanksgiving break right before the SWG Analyst meeting. We’re wrapping up the 1:1’s and dinner dates and all the executive preparation necessary to make sure they can find the bathroom which is always a crap shoot.

Note to analysts, last chance to get your meeting requests in. We’re trying to wrap it up this week.

Remember the Elevens

Today is Veterans day, formerly Armistice day, to remember as Ralph Bennett puts it, “recalling that the massive blood-letting of the First World War ended precisely at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, November 11, 1918.”

Sgt Major Michael Gravans says, “after the ceremony he believes that Americans these days are thinking about veterans more and thinking better of them, “probably better than any time since World War II.”
But as new generations join the military, they need to be told of the sacrifices of those who have gone before them. “And I, as a leader, need to help them understand that sooner rather than later.”

Lt. Col. Michael Shinners, the brigade’s rear detachment commander, gave a brief history of Veterans Day to those gathered, tracing its history to the armistice signed following World War I.
Memorial Day, he said, is for those who have given their lives while serving their country. Veterans Day is for those who proudly served their country and those still serving.

Here is a link to some Veterans Day notes, blogs and activities…

IBM and Social Networking (IWB and blogging event)

This week, IBM held a Social Networking event hosted by Irving Wladawsky-Berger for the press. Some local analyst’s attended.

On the panel was:

Irving Wladawsky-Berger
IBM VP of IBM Technical Strategy and Innovation

Irene Greif
IBM Fellow and head of the Collaborative User Experience Research Lab

Mike Rhodin
IBM Software Group, Lotus
General Manager of Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software

Bill Ives
Author, Business Blogs: A Practical Guide

Stephen Sparkes
Managing Director, Investment Banking Division, Morgan Stanley

David Weinberger
Author, The Clue Train Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual

Here is the advertisement before the event:
According to Wikipedia, social networks play a “critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals.” IBM believes that this model, which has been so successful in the consumer and open source communities with things like Friendster, MySpace, Craigslist, blogs, wikis and other social networking tools and phenomena, can be tapped to drive productivity, collaboration and business insight for the corporate world.

We won’t focus on whether or not CEOs should blog or what is the right and wrong way for business people to engage with bloggers — instead we invite you to hear and discuss the business opportunities we see for our clients.

We will provide a peek at technologies from inside IBM’s Research labs that demonstrate how these social networks can transform how companies work, and perhaps more importantly how they can drive new kinds of collaborative innovation in business. And we’ll explain how IBM plans to help companies deal with these phenomena: from analytics for searching and mining blogs and what to do with that information to make business decisions, to how these social networks can help transform cultures and change the way we work and collaborate.

Here are some blog comments with the analyst questions with the panel’s answers.

Mike Gotta

David Weinberger

Press coverage:

IBM Says That Companies Need to Mine Blogs, Wikis for Vital Business Data

IBM Software Tracks Blogs, Web Content
E-Content Magazine

IBM launches blog content monitoring software
Newswatch, India

IBM Software Tracks Blogs, Web Content to Capture Buzz, Spot Trends Around
Linux Electrons

Blog-Spotting With IBM

IBM Discovers What Willis Is Talking About

Cheeburger, Cheeburger, Pepsi, Chips

This weekend marked the opening of a new restaurant near us – Cheeburger, Cheeburger…just like from the Saturday Night Live skit.

Cheeburger review in the Paper

More information and menu found here:

My daughter works for the investement company Silverdeer Investments that is opening 22 of these restaurants in the area. Our whole family and a friend was there, as was the mayor of Apex, Keith Weatherly for the pre-opening event.

It was great food, good fun and looks like it will be a big hit in the area.

I’ll have a cheeburger, chips, pepsi….no coke

Computing at the speed of light.

I make it pretty clear that IBM Research does and has some of the coolest stuff there is….

Today’s press coverage about IBM moving data on silicon via light is unbelievable. For you trekkies out there, that’s Warp 1. They even have a cool name for it – Photonic Silicon Waveguide. Data is moved via photons creating less heat and using less power, nice side effects huh?

IBM Slows Light, Readies it for Networking

Too cool.

Scoble has a big set of attachments/Customers do matter

Kudo’s to Robert Scoble today for calling out his own company in public, that took big….uh….attachements. Why, if you go to the end, he talks about Microsofter’s having to work for other companies because the customers will leave.

12 reasons why not to work with Microsoft .

I read Thomas Watson’s book about IBM. It was always about the customer, both Watson Sr. and Jr. Let us not forget that either just because it’s Microsoft that has become the BORG, that our end goal is the CUSTOMER! (listen to this, it’s scary when you think about the operating system war).

Ultimately, it is about the customers. It’s not about what you can do to climb the ladder of success, or how great a product you can produce – especially if no one wants to buy it…..or for Microsoft, if no one wants to work with you.

Adieu, Rene Moreau

Rene Moreau Fought in WWI

Until today, I didn’t know he even lived. But the patriotic furnace inside of me burned when I read that he was one of the 7 remaining French veterans of WWI. My Grandfather fought in the Calvary for the US, enlisting as 18, but really was younger than that so he could serve his country.

It’s soldiers like that who’s sacrifices allow us the freedom we enjoy on the internet, speech and just about everything else in the free world.

Because of guys like Rene Moreau, I’m not typing in a Central Power language, or an Axis language only years later.