2005, another one bites the dust

Here I sit at 7:15 on New Years Eve, blogging about the year. I’m not much of a partier, and this is the night the amateurs try to keep up with the professionals on the drinking circuit, then drive, so I’m going to stay alive another night, God willing.

So 2005 is over. As it is with most periods of time, we accomplished moving the ball forward rather than backwards. Professionally, we had one of the best years as a team (IBM SWG A/R) and made progress. IBM moved forward in a number of directions. We’ll mourn the loss of Dave Liddell as our leader, but celebrate the ascension of Sarita Torres as the new boss.

Since I’m blogging, we made huge steps in this area (yes, I’ll give you we started later than we should so we had more to make up). We now have good bloggers, we’re releasing blog tools and we are going forward, not backwards.

Personally, I started Delusions of Adequacy in mid-year and have shared any number of IBM’rs with you and made blogger acquaintances/links/professional relationships both in and out of the company.

I was promoted to 2nd degree Black Belt in 2005, so I’m gaining traction personally. Working out, I lifted 3,977,911 pounds as calculated by the Fitlinxx machines I work out on, and burned 300,708 calories while doing so. I worked out roughly two thirds of the days this year, so I’m more fit than this time last year, and better able to defend myself.

I’m not going to get into New Year’s resolutions here, partly because this is about 2005, partly because very few people keep them, and partly because I haven’t thought about it yet.

I’m hoping for consistency, the ability to fight the good fight at home, at work and for God. I am now raising my second teenager, and the experience I learned from raising the first looks like it will be mostly useless. About the only thing I can re-use is that teenagers can make some of the dumbest mistakes while trying to learn lifes ropes, and we as parents just hope for survival sometimes…both ours and theirs. Happy New Year.

Geneology, IBM in the news

DNA Test Helps Build Common Family Tree

This doesn’t have anything to do with analyst relations today, it’s more a thought for the day. A while back, I asked a mensa question on my blog before I left for vacation. A few guessed at it but no one got the answer. Before I go on, here it is again to let you think about it.

What is the meaning of life, give three examples. The answer will be below.

Well it turns out that through DNA studies, it appears that we are linked to a common ancestor. As stated in the article, Spencer Wells of the genographic project says that people want a sense of their ancestry, a fair statement. At some point in life, we all wonder if who we are related to, and if it is to anyone who was meaningful.

Whether you subscribe to creationism or evolution, if you go back to the origin, according to this article, we are related to each other albeit remotely….. an interesting thought.

So it gets to the specific questions that most ponder, who am I, where did I come from and where am I going when I die?

So much for pontificating, now the answer to the mensa question. It’s a joke that they (I’m not mensa, I just like to poke fun in general, and they are an easy target) like to pose to others.

IBM Buys Micromuse and Bowstreet – Lou Gerstner's notes on why these are important.

I’m not going to get into the coverage of the purchases of these two companies, there is plenty of news and links out there. I will say that it is the 10th and 11th acquisition by IBM Software Group this year.

When Lou Gerstner was retiring, he came to RTP to make his farewell remarks. There were over 15,000 IBM’rs at the site and about 200 got to go, I was one of the lucky ones…. thank you Lyle McGuire.

I have always had a lot of respect for Lou. Not many executives can save the largest company in a particular industry (IT of course for us) and accomplish an 18 BILLION dollar turn around. While I’m commenting on Lou, I once heard some folks say he made to much. I say he didn’t make enough for what he did (kept IBM together and made it profitable and productive). I wouldn’t be blogging today if it wasn’t for him.

Back to my point on the aqusitions. Lou spoke during a downturn in our industry. He said buying companies is easy to do, but hard to do correctly. He spoke of the HP purchase of Compaq, that it was not smart to buy a company that does relatively the same thing you do, no added value there. Although at the time it was disguised as a “services purchase” to get on equal terms with IGS (that still hasn’t come close), it was described to me by more than one analyst as thinly disguised “Lou Envy” by the then head of HP who has met her demise.

Lou then commented on the purchase of Price Waterhouse Coopers for business consulting services. From this purchase, we used the PWC data and research to help formulate and design our industry strategy, a go to market par excellance strategy that is being copied by our competition.

Lou’s point was that in tough times, smart companies position themselves to be on top when the market turns around or when the next trend of strategic selling comes to fruition. So there is a little insight on how to do things right. Some buy for R&D, some for customer base and some for extra bottom line. While there is some of that in our acqusitions, strategic positioning for the future to make us stronger and more competitive, advancing our business strategy is a driving force.

No, no one consulted me on which companies we are going to acquire, but being smart and doing it for a good reason, not just to do it is nothing to sneeze at. I’m guessing that Steve Mills, the head of SWG and Sam Palmisano ultimately pull the trigger on these, but every time they do, Gerstner’s words come back to me and make more sense each time.

Pop the Champagne, '72 Dolphins still the only perfect team

Everybody has a team, mine is the Miami Dolphins. I grew up in Florida and that was our team. No Bucs, no Jags, no Marlins…heck, the closest sports team was the Atlanta Braves at that time. I sat on the sofa as a kid watching every game, rooting for my team, not realizing that 35 years later, no sports team would equal this feat.

Today the Colts lost to the Chargers, ensuring for one more year that the only perfect team is still the ’72 Dolphins. Griese, Morris, Kiick, Csonka, the no-name defense. Actually they went 19-0 counting the next seasons first 2 games.

Each year the players from that team pop the champagne when the last undefeated team loses a game preserving the mantel as the team with the only perfect season.

There have only been 4 teams to start 13-0, with biggest scare coming in 1985 when the Chicago Bears came into Miami for what is still the highest rated Monday Night Football game ever. They were picked apart by Hall of Famer Dan Marino to stop that streak. It’s a good thing as the Bears had 4 patsies to play and would have run the board had it not been for Dan who owned the Bears. Many ’72 Dolphins were on the sidelines that day.

It’s been said that the ’85 Dolphins are honorary members of the ’72 Dolphins as they helped stop the team that had the best chance of equaling this special achievement.

I know those that read this are going to want to say how good their team is or that another team has been better. But no one remembers 2nd place or losses by 1 point…..and no one else has a team with no losses on the way to a championship. Wins are wins and losses are losses….And a perfect season is hard to come by, and owned by only one team, the ’72 Miami Dolphins.

Note from Santa Claus

Got a note from Santa recently, please read:

I regret to inform you that, effective immediately, I will no longer
serve the States of Georgia, Florida, Virginia, North and South Carolina,
Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas on Christmas Eve.

Due to the overwhelming current population of the earth, my contract
was renegotiated by North American Fairies and Elves Local 209. As part of
the new and better contract I also get longer breaks for milk and cookies
so keep that in mind.

However, I’m certain that your children will be in good hands with
your local replacement, who happens to be my third cousin, Bubba Claus.
His side of the family is from the South Pole. He shares my goal of delivering
toys to all the good boys and girls; however, there are a few differences
between us.

Differences such as:

1. There is no danger of the Grinch stealing your presents from
Bubba Claus. He has a gun rack on his sleigh and a bumper sticker that
reads: “These toys insured by Smith and Wesson.”

2.Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that children
leave an RC cola and pork rinds [or a moon pie] on the fireplace. And
Bubba doesn’t smoke a pipe. He dips a little snuff though, so please have an
empty spit can handy.

3.Bubba Claus’ sleigh is pulled by floppy-eared, flyin’ coon dogs
instead of reindeer. I made the mistake of loaning him a couple of my
reindeer one time, and Blitzen’s head now overlooks Bubba’s fireplace.

4.You won’t hear “On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen..” when
Bubba Claus arrives. Instead, you’ll hear, “On Earnhardt, on Andretti, on
Elliott and Petty.”

5.”Ho, Ho, Ho!” has been replaced by “Yee Haw!” And you
also are likely to hear Bubba’s elves respond, “I her’d dat!”

6.As required by Southern highway laws, Bubba Claus’ sleigh does
have a Yosemite Sam safety triangle on the back with the words “Back Off.”

7.The usual Christmas movie classics such as “Miracle on 34th
Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” will not be shown in your
negotiated viewing area. Instead, you’ll see “Boss Hogg Saves Christmas”
and “Smokey and the Bandit IV” featuring Burt Reynolds as Bubba Claus and
dozens of state patrol cars crashing into each other.

And Finally,

8. Bubba Claus doesn’t wear a belt. If I were you, I’d make sure
you, the wife, and the kids turn the other way when he bends over to put
presents under the tree.

Sincerely Yours,
Santa Claus

The New Analyst Relations Lineup/Scorecard

Get out your scorecards, we’re making some changes in the lineup here at SWG A/R.

Who’s on first?

Sarita Torres replaces Dave Liddell as the Director of SWG A/R, new manager.
Glenn Hintze replaces Nancy Riley at AIM, batting first
Mike Bizovi replaces Sarita at IM, batting second
Amy Loomis replaces Mike Bizovi in Cross Brand, batting third
Diane Flis replaces Amy Loomis in Rational, batting cleanup
Don Neely replaces Diane Flis in Lotus, batting fifth
Patty Rowell gets promoted to Manager of Tivoli, batting sixth.

Nancy Riley got traded to another team, Manager of SWG aquisitions.

So, this is the perfect time to call your new brand manager and congratulate them on their new assignment, and offer help to them to get their job done.

Like I said in my first ever email closing, change is the only thing that stays the same.

The News, Have it your way

I read the other day from Steve O’Grady , why he stopped watching the news. It’s been bouncing around in my head for a couple of days and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

We want the information/news/updates/whatever the way we want it, not the way the current regime of news/papers/print magazines decide for us what they want to interpret as news. I’m pretty sure this has always been the case, but we as information consumers haven’t had the opportunity to customize it until recently (a matter of years for some, more recently for others).

I commented on his blog about how right he was, and that I already had stopped watching it also (but you got me Steve, I didn’t even realize this). I always have a better understanding of the issues before it hits the traditional news. I find the subject that interests me, then I can go to sources, blogs or the web that may have been at the place of the event, and almost always there is someone who understands the issue better than a newscaster. It occurs to me that the whoever the media source is, they are really a journalist, not a field or subject matter expert. The blogosphere has now become the more informed reporter.

When the sources for news was limited, these generalist journalists were the only choice. As with any job, there is always a range of talent and quality. But as any economist will tell you, a monopoly causes quality to go down and price to go up. The news has been monopolistic with respect to news feeds, and media conglomerates. Go to any channel and you get virtually the same story, the one that was in the morning newspaper a lot of the time.

Which brings me to how I want to get the news. If you’ve read any of my blogs, you know I love IBM Research. If you ever get the chance, talk to research or read about them. They are not just blue suits, rather some unbelievable minds. Back in 1999, I saw a demo of a flexible newspaper that was really a screen that you customized your own news. When we showed it off, it wowed everyone as the technology was cool, but it opened up freedom of content.

All you need is a news bot to get your sources and it downloaded and formatted. Now that sounds a whole like feed aggregators (google, bloglines, other). It likely won’t come to fruition in that format, but the concept is coming true.

So it’s getting to the time that we can select what we want and get it. This is bad and good for the traditional news. As anyone with a search engine can find, circulation numbers are down for the traditional news, most cable news (ok, one exception was up) and print news.

Why is it good? Back to the economists. Capitalism invites competition, the result of which is lower prices and better quality. So they will either have to improve, or go the way of the horse and buggy (Steve’s example again here). Otherwise, we get what we want because we have choices.

And like Steve, I chose getting the real story from my research, not the negative or slanted (both directions) that someone thinks I should get. Either way, I’m going to get a better product, at a cheaper price.

Update: Here’s a story from Tekrati that shows a trend towards consumer preference. We may win after all.

And another showing lower prices…

IBM to offer 40,000 patents to VC's

If I were starting a company, I’d like to have a unique concept that I could patent and know that it was both a killer idea and have legal protection…oh yeah, I’d like a bunch of VC money also.

Since I’m not a good engineer, or an engineer at all (my Dad was engineer of the year in Florida, but I didn’t get those genes), the next best way is to have help and get the same benefits.

IBM has announced a plan to offer access to the 40,000 plus patent portfolio to VC’s that they can share with their startups. A pretty sweet deal, money and access to the patent leader. Pick your technology, hardware, software, services and a lot of other stuff. I’ve said before that one of the most under told story’s is the cool stuff that IBM research has. Can you imagine what the value of this portfolio is, not just in terms of money but the invention time must be staggering.

In planning this, we worked with our VC advisory council to see what they would want and how it should be structured. They come out a big winner as now they have something tangible other than just money to offer startups. They either pay a one time 3 year fee for alpha stage companies or for products that are ready, a 1% of revenue relate to an IBM patent (not the entire product). This is relatively the same terms that we offered the largest companies we deal with in these arrangements (yes i mean company’s located in Redmond). The VC’s were quite pleased with the terms as they were a part of structuring from the get go. They viewed it as very fair and were glad to be on equal footing with bigger players.

Most of the analyst comments centered around the tools to search this many patents. Amazing how they see right through everything and pick out vital points. To that, we will provide access to the inventor and the technology, and to the specific comments…we’ll be working on some search tools to help the VC’s.

Startups win as they get the patent protection (ask RIM and NTP about this) and VC money.

IBM wins as it is a reason to partner with us. We offer not only the protection issue, but access to some incredible research. Yefim Natis of Gartner pointed out that this is good for IBM in that patent portfolio is likely under used. Lou Gerstner issued a mandate when he was reshaping IBM that we WILL use research and patents in our products. Now it’s not only IBM products, but it is spreading out to the industry also.

We’ve been rightly criticized for not being far enough down in the SMB stack (in the S part). This may not be the golden egg, but it sure is a step in the right direction. You don’t get much more of an S than in a small startup.

Like all announcements, programs at maturity usually wind up being molded along the way due to various things like industry or technology trends. I’m sure this program will be also, but it’s an interesting start.

More information is found on the VC group link.

Bob Sutor blogs about it also.

How to attract developers

Hats off to Microsoft here, I wish we’d thought of this.

Prize in Indian Talent Search

Microsoft has a talent search in India that will produce one member to work with Gates for a year. If you look at this closely, there is one big winner….Microsoft. You may have thought I was going to say the guy/girl who gets to work with Microsoft for a year, but I’m not sure that is that good.

Microsoft is pulling the credit card game, announce a contest and you pull everyone in. Compound that by it being in India, and you have one heck of an idea.

We make no bones about the fact that we are expanding heavily in the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China. It looks like we aren’t the only game in town now.

Hope we learn from this.

Yeah, and it's deep too

Richard Pryor 1940-2005. One of the true trailblazers in the comedy profession. Numerous comedians benefitted from his routines and the new ground that he broke.

He also fought several personal demon’s, but who has had a life paved with gold the whole way. It was from those demons and the personal struggles that some of his funniest sketches came from. Like the time he shot his car, or when he ran down the street on fire. Most of us would never want anyone knowing how we had fallen down, but Pryor made us laugh at it because the way he told it was hilarious.

He also broke down many racial barriers, poking fun at everyone, again in a way that was as ingenious as it was true.

A lot of people have him to thank for the careers that they have now. Me, I had a lot of laughs.

Today's blog in binary

I’ve been holding this one for a while now. I’m posting the rest of this blog in binary code. Here is the link for translation.
Binary coder/decoder




Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a Date that will live in Infamy

A question that has interested historians and researchers for decades is: why? Why did Japan launch an attack that, in hindsight at least, they clearly had no chance of winning? The obvious answer is that they thought they could, but military and naval strategists know the answer is not so simple.

Precisely because its resources were so depleted by the war with China, it is accepted wisdom that Japan was hoping to expand its territories in the Pacific. If these areas belonged to Japan, they would, almost by default, become customers for Japan’s industrial and resource sectors.

But the Japanese underestimated America’s resolve to defend itself, for however long, and by whatever means necessary. If Japan hoped that America might take a “c’est la vie” attitude to the prospect of losing a battle in the Philippines, it was sorely mistaken. Nor was America still weary from the First World War.

Japan also underestimated the extent of Americans’ outrage at the bombing in 1941. It fueled the nation’s desire to win at almost any cost. No democratic government on earth can move forward without the will of the people, and after Pearl Harbor, the American people’s will was ferocious.

Here is the text and a link to the speech that FDR made after the attack at Pearl Harbor.

I read the Biography of Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the attack. He believed that the only way to defeat the United States of America was a surprise attack that would disable our military in the Pacific. He clearly stated that he feared that if the attack was not completely successful, it would awaken a sleeping giant that the Empire of Japan could not defeat in standard battle. It must haunt his legacy.

Tactically, the mistake was not destroying the aircraft carriers which were out at sea that day or his plan may have succeeded.

As it turned out, he was shot down only a few years later in a surprise attack by a squadron of P-38’s heading to an inspection in the Pacific.

Here is the Youtube speech by FDR

I find ironic the words of the second half of the speech, if applied to 9/11, would be appropriate. Also ironic is that Japan was extending its reach for economic resources.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese Government had deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you, very many American lives were lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.
This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces-with the unbounded determination of our people-we will gain the inevitable triumphso help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, 7 December 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

Here is the only color film of the event.  Listen to how excited the Japanese are and their commitment to give everything, including lives to this war:


Man’s best friend now also Heart’s best friend

According to the
American Heart Association,
“Researchers discovered that a 12-minute visit with man’s best friend helped heart and lung function by lowering pressures, diminishing release of harmful hormones and decreasing anxiety among hospitalized heart failure patients. Benefits exceeded those that resulted from a visit with a human volunteer or from being left alone.

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has been shown to reduce blood pressure in healthy and hypertensive patients. It reduces anxiety in hospitalized patients, too.”

I made earlier post’s about my dog Bandit.
It’s a dog’s life and Boxer Rebellion

So I guess I’ve lowered my anxiety and blood pressure. Then of course work interrupts that little scenario.

I will point out that when they are puppies, they’re cute, but bladders can only make it to about 4:30 am…then they have to go outside. And one of my dog’s ate a shoe, part of a stair, other things…

Here’s Bandit as a puppy.

But I wouldn’t trade it….I love my dog. My dog loves my heart.