Miscellany

I’m working on a couple of things that are taking longer than I thought, delaying any real issues I could be effectively writing here.

1. For ISV analyst issues, it’s going to be about SOA, SaaS and PartnerWorld in the next couple of months, watch this space and make requests to find out what we’re doing. I’ll be reaching out as we get closer, but you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to know what we’re up to.

2. Blogging, IBM is moving forward and we’ll have things to say about our company efforts as bloggers. Some tools came out at Lotusphere, but this will be more about how we organize our people efforts outwardly (jg and sog please contact me here).

3. Bloggerviews- I’ve asked Grady Booch and Rod Smith to participate. If I can get them, they should be good.

4. Not all Geeks are Wimps Part II. This has been one of the more difficult blogs I’ll have written. Some blogs come to me in my sleep, not this one. I’ve read 2 books for to prepare, and the respect I have for the person I’m writing about puts pressure on me to perform, which of course slows down the process.

5. An entire episode of 24 last night without Jack Bauer killing anyone. Hope he makes up for that next week.

What I'm doing this weekend


Fond memories of childhood for me included going to Sports Car Races with my Dad. The first one he took me to was the 24 Hours of Daytona, which takes place this weekend.

Twice around the clock at breakneck speed testing both man and machine. As the preparation begins with the morning of the race, it really means that teams will be awake close to 40 hours straight to keep the cars running, fueled, mechanically maintained and ready for accidents or emergencies. This race kicks off the racing season which gives me endless TiVo delight.

Dad isn’t gone, but his memory is fading, so I’ll be the one with the memories of our time together while I watch as much of the race as I can.

Being a staunch Porsche fan, I’m thrilled that a Porsche powered car is on the pole, the first time since 1990. Porsche has 20 victories in this race, most of any manufacturer by a wide margin. They used to have an ad saying “Racing, the ultimate proof – Porsche”. We’ll see this weekend.

A compilation of Bloggerviews

If you’ve read them all, nothing new here. But many have joined late to the game at Delusions and I thought I’d put a round up of the Bloggerviews I’ve done. Everyone is interesting in their own way. Note to readers here: who would you like to see bloggerviewed next at IBM?

Tom Morrissey
Doug Heintzman
Harriet Pearson
Bob Sutor
John Mihalec
Ed Brill
Nancy Riley
Jeff Jones
Cameron O’Connor
Bandit, my dog
Someone not to mess with

IBM Analyst Relations, Who are we? – Tom Morrissey

JFK once stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. Today’s Bloggerview is with my teammate, Tom Morrissey. We work together on the cross brand initiatives, but have successfully solved analyst issues in Software Group for years.

As you read through this, you see that he has been and is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty both for analysts, our team and personally. Tom as you’ll read helped at ground zero after 9/11. There are some guys you want in your foxhole, I’d always want Tom in mine, for analyst relations or any other engagement… friend or foe.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job)?
I’m an Analyst Relations professional in IBM’s Software Group, focused mainly on IBM solutions for the SMB market. What this really means is that I have an opportunity to work “cross-IBM” to brief and consult with Analyst Firms on IBM’s portfolio of Express offerings for our Business Partners serving mid-market customers. I get to work with good, talented people on both ends of the conversation…

Some work experience that you want to tell?
I’m a dot-com ‘boomerang’ IBM employee. I started with IBM in 1984 as a Large Systems Engineer on a team supporting a large insurance company. After different positions in Marketing and Product Management (I was Brand Manager for the under-appreciated IBM AntiVirus product), I left IBM in 1999 to join MAPICS and then a dot-com company. The dot-com experience was interesting. I was the Director of Marketing for a Job Board site for IT professionals.

I think I was the company’s eighth hire at the time so it was quite a contrast from my IBM days and even those at MAPICS. I learned a lot about Database Marketing, Cable TV advertising (we did two commercials and even contemplated a Super Bowl ad), and working for a CEO megalomaniac. True story: During one of the several occasions where the CEO was chewing me out for not being able to close business development deals with major partners, he angrily told me that he bet he could “pick up the phone right now and get a deal” and if he did he wanted me to “kiss his foot”. After coldly telling him that I hoped his statement was just a figure of speech, he backed off saying “you look like you want to kill me…”

In 2001, I returned to IBM (don’t ever burn your bridges) and, as you can imagine, I have been happy to be back. While I enjoyed my other experiences, I found that I took some things for granted at IBM which don’t necessarily always exists elsewhere. Like IBM’s culture of mutual respect and customer service. One of the reasons I had trouble “getting deals” when I was at the dot-com company is that the CEO wanted ‘win-lose’ deals. The notions of trusted relationships and true partnerships were alien to him.

How do you describe what you do to those not in our profession?
Analyst Relations is a Communications position so a lot of my day is on the phone with analysts to brief them on IBM announcements and strategies. Or I’m on the phone with other IBMers in various staff or project meetings.

What are good things about your job?
Being in IBM Software Group, I love being in the forefront of the changes currently occurring in the IT marketplace. Linux, Open Source, Software as a Service, SOA. And after spending so much time with analysts on the phone, its always enjoyable to talk to them face to face at conferences.

What are things you would change?
For all the “communicating”, I think there are still knowledge and relationship gaps between IBM and analysts. I think blogs are useful to bridge some of these gaps. I would like to find ways to increase the dialog and rapport that occurs at conference events and increase the opportunities for meaningful discussion.

Name a funny analyst story.
About a year ago, IBM AR had a conference call with an Analyst Firm to hear how IBM could get more involved in the blogging community. I had just started to read some blogs but did not fully understand tags. During the Q&A, I asked, “Could you tell me what delicious tags are?”
I give great credit to the analyst who managed to stifle his chuckle at my naivete…

Describe an analyst win situation for you.
As readers of this blog know, IBM has a very successful Business Partner program who we partner with to provide industry/customer solutions to the marketplace. Yet, with recent industry acquisitions and consolidation, some firms have questioned the viability of IBM’s partner-led application strategy. After several briefings with a leading firm/critic on this topic, it was a very satisfying last year to see IBM presented at a major firm conference as the “hidden” fourth player in the market on par with the other 3 major application vendors.

Describe an analyst disaster for you. (no names)
Prefer not to! It’s a new year afterall…

What would you like the analyst’s to do differently, suggestions of what would help both sides maybe.
I think every firm should publish/update their research agenda. More transparency of the agenda would make it easier to coordinate our briefings/consults with them at the right time. I think Forrester’s move to publish their research agenda on their web site should be a standard practice for all firms.

Can you talk about your military service, why you did it, what you did?
I enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1986 when I was 26 years old, college educated, and working at IBM. Notice I said enlisted. This meant that despite my age and education, I went to Parris Island for boot camp with 75 (about 48 graduated) other ‘pukes’ in my platoon as a Private.

I was older than most of my Drill Instructors who, for their part, were impressed (meaning I got to do more push-ups) that someone like me enlisted. But I wanted to know what the experience was like and how I would do. It was a personal test kind of thing for me. Of course, my parents and some of my friends thought I was crazy and, in fact, I was talked out of joining twice before I finally made the commitment. It took a while but I finally realized that I would regret NOT doing it more than I would doing it. That perspective was a decision-making breakthrough for me in dealing with unknown situations.

I’m often asked about boot camp and how difficult the Marine Corps training is. For me, it wasn’t really as physically difficult as I expected although I did train hard before going to Parris Island. However, it was much more mentally stressful than I expected. Having someone shout at you constantly day after day, week after week…the never-ever-satisfied demands of the Drill Instructors who constantly belittled your efforts…your total lack of control of your situation….Very difficult to take. Interestingly, the seventeen and eighteen year old’s didn’t seem to mind it – they were more challenged by the physical training, not the mental training (too young to know better, I told them – lol). But the mental stress part was indeed part of the training method and I can tell you that the ‘tear-down, build-up’ method is definitely effective in creating a highly motivated unit from heretofore dozens of diverse individuals.

Following boot camp , I became a Radio Operator which is essentially a grunt with extra radio gear to carry. By the time my 6 year reserve contract finished, I was a Sergeant and our unit had returned from 4 months active duty training in the Mojave Desert during Desert Storm in 1991. Our unit was supposed to part of the replacements troops following the Ground War but ultimately most Reserve Units were deactivated before reservists could attain Veteran status and the benefits that come with it. Needless to say, The first Gulf war was a much different situation than the troops are in today.

Are you really a Fireman currently also?
Yes, I’m a volunteer Firefighter in my hometown. My family teases me that I just like being in uniform. Actually, I like physical challenges and helping people. Five months after I joined the department in 1991, we were called to help the Rescue Effort at Ground Zero (many people forget that the fires burned underground for months). Most of the time, though, the alarm calls that I answer at night and on weekends are false alarms- fortunately- and I’m just a little more bleary eyed for the effort in the morning. And it’s always amusing when the false alarm is at a friends house who just burned their Thanksgiving turkey.

But the training is strenuous. To be a trained firefighter, you need to complete an 80 hour course with simulated and live fire training exercises. The turnout gear is heavy and hot even before going into a fire. When you’re inside a burning room with an air-tank, you can barely see or hear anything because of the noise and inherent confusion at each scene. Like my reserve experience with the military, my volunteer firefighter experience has taught me great respect for the Professional Firefighter. As a Volunteer Company, we train once a month and respond to calls when we can. Professional/Career Firefighters usually respond to several calls everyday – and at every hour of the day.

IBM and Crime, a Podcast to hear

This is an advertisement for an IBM Podcast on crime that drew my interest.

The podcast is hosted by Ben Edwards and features a discussion between Dr. Charles Palmer, head of security and privacy for IBM Research, and Bob Bragdon, publisher of CSO Magazine.

Other IBM Podcasts range from banking, driving and online games.

IBM got dinged for being late to the blogging party (which I took exception to since I was as early to the game as anyone), but here’s some evidence that things are going in the right direction.

What I'm reading

I got a lot of comments on theDoug Heintzman bloggerview and the Asia Pacific IBM analyst relations are number one, so I thought I should bring things back down to reality lest anybody confuse me with someone who knows what they are doing.

Since plagiarism is a form of flattery, I took this idea from Grady Booch who reads a lot also. I always have about five or more books going at any time so I thought I’d post the current ones, lest anyone think I was getting too interesting.

Porsche Prototype Era 1964-1973 in Photographs by Bill Oursler, I love cars and history, and this let’s me relive my childhood, teens and early twenties regarding testosterone cars and incredible German engineering.

Sports Racing Cars by Anthony Pritchard, more history, more testosterone, this time going back to 1923 and covering all great sports cars.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (the author of the Tipping Point). A great discussion of Thin Slicing to make decisions on people and things. I’m reading this to write Not All Geeks are Wimps,Part II.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Thomas E. Woods Jr. Ph.D., so I can learn what really happened, not what they taught in public school.

The Siege of Rabaul by Henry Sakaida, about the pacific theater from the Japanese point of view as warriors in WWII.

The World of Byzantium by Professor Kenneth W. Harl, Tulane University. The fall of Rome and the beginnings of the Eastern and Western Empires. It’s a university course that teaches how we got from then to now in Europe, Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia.

The Battle for the Beginning by John MacArthur, mostly about creationism and evolutionism, seems to be a hot topic these days.

The five love languages by Gary Chapman. It’s about marriage and how to communicate to your mate in his/her “language”.

How to Bring Your Children to Christ by Ray Comfort. You never can read enough on how to raise kids, they don’t come with a manual when they are born.

Who's #1 in Analyst Relations? In Asia Pacific, it's IBM

Hat’s off to the Asia Pacific IBM analyst relations team headed by Junaidah Dahlan and Karen Davis. I work with them frequently on global and regional announcements, cross IBM events and team issues. This is a well deserved reward for a job well done

In a report byIntelligen/Lighthouse , the IBM A/R team proved to be the leader.

Here are some of the analyst comments:

Analyst Comments from the report:

“With dedicated local and regional AR resources (as well as some worldwide resources who interact with Asia/Pacific analysts) and focus on multiple market segments, IBM was praised by some analysts for its professional and proactive approach to analyst relations, and was generally regarded as understanding the role and importance of industry analysts. ”

“I find the people that they use to fulfill my enquiries are very easy to work with, maybe they’re more seasoned, less sales-oriented, have a more mature approach, less blinkered.” Principal analyst

“I deal with them less this year than last year, but they are still there reaching out to say “what can I do to help your research?”” Research director

“IBM is probably the best. Consistency in terms of staff, the structure’s well-defined, clear lines of contact, sophisticated understanding of my needs.” Research vice president

“IBM. They take you seriously right from the start. They don’t feel they have to get a list of the customers you’re working with before they give you information. They’re much more aware of the analyst’s role. They don’t overload you, most of the time. I can get on the phone and they will find the right person for me to speak to – it may take some time, but they will do it. They’re very good at honing in on what you need, what’s useful.” Principal analyst

“They have an analyst relations website so I can log in and self-service. Some product groups are better than others at keeping up the relationship.” Research director, Malaysia

“IBM is professional. They have AR people under the communications department, several AR people. I can get business and product information from these people, so I think they have good internal communications. I get an instant response to my request for a meeting with their product managers.” Principal analyst, China.

Bloggerview with Doug Heintzman – SWG Strategist: Analysts – It’s a Partnership of Discovery

I really like to have discussions with insightful people. I thought this was going to be mostly on all things Open (there is a good deal of that, don’t worry), but I came away thinking here’s a guy that really knows where he’s going and what he’s doing. I found his answers to my questions fascinating and I hope that you do also.

Doug delves into the beginnings of IBM’s Software Group, strategy issues, pattern recognition to solve problems, the future, the most important skill at IBM and IT analysts.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job)?
Director, Software Group technical strategy,

I wear a number of hats. I sit in the headquarters of Software Strategy Group and we worry about big picture issues. We plug holes and identify issues that span all the brands in Software. We worry about things like emerging technology and globalization as well as marketplace landscaped issues. We worry about the Venture Capitol efforts, Strategic Alliances, and things like Open Source.

I have a number of operational responsibilities including running the Open Source Steering Committee for SWG. We process and approve Open Source use, distribution, donations of code or programs, and ensure that proper legal and business reviews are done. We also deal with compliance to mandates about strategic platform support. common criteria certification, and accessibility legislation issues. These mandates are put in place to insure that the IBM platform of middleware products are as collectively valuable as possible. All of the pieces of the software portfolio need to be coordinated for proper delivery. All components need to be there making a cohesive platform and we help coordinate that. I’m also the sponsorship executive for the International Collegiate Programming Championship. That’s a lot of fun.

There are always interesting issues to be considered, questions to be asked and answered, and cracks that need to be filled. We do this also.

Besides the operational side of my team’s responsibilities, we have the bigger strategy side. At any given time, we are working on many strategy projects. We look at the Open Source world and viable business models. We are working hard on the Open Document Format (ODF) strategy for IBM. We provide some support for our field and government relations teams. We are exploring issues like the convergence of VOIP and data network and the kinds of next generation mixed modal applications that become possible, real-time systems, and community effort around building Enterprise Service Buses. In other words, we oversee a lot of activities and projects.

I have a team of bright creative people and we build virtual teams bringing together some of the best minds from across the company including those from research for pattern recognition to solve problems.

When I speak at high school career days, I obviously get the question “what is a strategist” To answer this I show the kids a series of charts of various different technology trend lines over time such as memory density and price, storage density and price, networking speeds and broadband penetration etc… and then I ask them, If you knew all this what would you invent?” The answer turns out to be an I-Pod. A strategist looks at patterns and how they collide to create new opportunities to innovate and invent. We help identify these trends and make recommendations about what IBM should do to capitalize on them.

We also do a lot of ad-hoc consulting for various projects across IBM. We are on numerous advisory boards on a variety of subjects.

How did you get to where you are.. Do you have some work experiences that you would like to relate?
I took a non traditional route.

I started working for IBM right out of college in 1989. I did my under graduate work in Politics and Economics, then did my graduate work in International Economic and Social Administration at the University of Grenoble in France. I’m a second generation IBMer, an IBM brat so to speak. My dad was the CAD/CAM guru for Canada. After graduation, I was looking around trying to figure out what I wanted to do and my dad suggested that I interview with IBM, so I went through the interview process, and at my final interview with the Montreal Branch manager I asked him “why would you hire someone like me?”

The answer is one that I still remember quite clearly and that I relate to new employee classes and to high school students at career days. It went sort of like this: “The stuff we do here you can’t learn in school, the stuff we are going to be doing in 6 months….. – we haven’t invented yet. I’m going to send you to school for 8 months to learn what it takes to succeed in this business. You will never stop learning. You will read 100’s of pages of journals every week and will attend many courses every year, The people I hire have demonstrated a passion for learning. That is the most important skill you can have at IBM”

I’ve been fortunate to have many different career experiences at IBM. This is certainly one of the great things about working for a company with the size and breadth of IBM.

The first thing I did was being a CAD/CAM specialist, sort of following my Dad’s footsteps. Soon after, four of us from across IBM Canada were recruited to become the first sales people for a fledgling software business… what would become the Software Group. That grew into Operating Systems, LAN, and a number of other things. From there, I went to Ottawa as a Sales Specialist.

Fate then stepped in when, as a result of my frustration on hearing all my customers relate how they had been to Redmond to hear the Microsoft story, I wrote a 2 page business case arguing that we should build a capability to explain the big software story and the value of all our middleware products as a platform. At the time you had to go to a lot of different places to here about a lot of different parts of IBM Software. I argued in my paper that we should develop a customer program that became known as “Software in Action”. It was also more frequently referred to as the Ron (Sebastian) and Doug show. Mike Rhodin (now Lotus GM) happened to be at a briefing center when we were doing this, saw us, and subsequently asked us to do it worldwide. After this, I went to pervasive computing and ran standards for 2 years and became chairman of the SyncML initiative (a standards organization for data synchronization), Then I managed strategy for pervasive computing. Then I moved to the SW strategy group to work with government and open standards, and was subsequently promoted to my current position.

What is unusual is that after 17 years, this is the first job I’ve ever inherited from someone else. All of the others were invented, In fact they were all newly created jobs. But it all ties back to the lecture on learning at my IBM interview.

What I love about working at IBM is the rate of innovation and change. We are always doing new and interesting things. We went from tabulating to the 360, from mainframes to services. We are always reinventing and making the transition leap to the next generation of technology, always adapting to new market dynamics and changing customer requirements.

It’s interesting, when I speak to new employee classes, to explain to them that everything I’ve done has been somewhat accidental instead of having a planned career. It is difficult to chart a career progression in a company like IBM because the landscape and technology is so dynamic.

One new employee in one of these sessions said to me “I think I understand what you are trying to tell us….There will always be new opportunities to do new and interesting things… always be prepared to take advantage of a new opportunity when one presents itself. There are always new ways to do something and be prepared to embrace them.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Any hobbies or fun stuff you want to discuss?
I don’t have as much time as I would like. My passion is my children and they are my joy. I love coming home and finding out what they did during the day and reading to them. I’m also an avid skier and I play guitar. I love to canoe and camp. In fact my summer job before IBM was as a canoe guide.

How do you describe what you do to your family and those who don’t work in our industry?
The simple answer is that we try to figure out what the world is going to look like in 5-7 years and try to make recommendations on what to do about it. Part of the art, the challenge of this, is that world is a long way away from where we are todays. Articulating some wonderful vision about what the world might look like to a general manager who is worrying about this quarter’s earnings is tough. You have to bridge today and tomorrow and lay out the steps to get there, a pragmatic approach with intermediate steps. You need to tell the story of the journey.

What are good things about your job?
I have the privilege of working with extraordinarily bright people. They are fun to be around and I have a great opportunity to learn something new every day. I get to work on the leading edge, It’s creative and imaginative. We try to turn research into something real and relevant.

What are things you would change?
I need more in-box discipline. My scope is so large, I speak a lot and am away a lot of the time, so I need to do better at this. I’m convinced there is an important business opportunity in helping people (like me) to manage the volume and complexity of information they are exposed to.  I also thought an Inconvenient Truth was true, later to find out it was political propaganda.

What are the biggest challenges at IBM?
The traditional business challenge of “how do you grow?” Where do we go from here? How to continue doing what you do well while trying to be well positioned for emerging opportunities? Part of it is cultural and creative, Part of it is agility. We have an advantage because of our strengths and insights : our intellectual property, our smart people, our global presence All of these are better than anyone in the world. Figuring out how to grow, how to leverage our strengths has always been an issue. Transition has been a big strength of IBM. The current Open issues (like ODF and Linux) are ushering in another transition period. We have to avoid the “Innovators dilemma”. We have been successful in transitioning across various disruptions in our long and storied history. I think we are very well positioned moving forward.

Have you considered being a blogger?
I may get to it, but time is an issue. It’s a matter of discipline. I talk to bloggers all the time. I think I would enjoy it very much. It’s a fascinating phenomenon. The challenge is much of what I’m doing are not things that are ready to be blogged during the thought process, as we may not be ready to share them yet.

Since analysts read this, what would you like to say to them about Strategy and IBM?
Frankly, I view the relationship with analysts as a partnership. My job is to get as many data points as possible and to synthesize them. The analyst community has deep insight that is a significant contributor to what I do. We’ve been doing a lot of deep thinking as well which I’ve been told by many analysts has relevance to their thinking. I consider my interactions with analysts as a dialogue. I enjoy the analyst community tremendously. They provoke my thinking and serve as a sounding board for our ideas, It’s a partnership of discovery.

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming years, either product or how you will work differently?
I’m excited about the people aspect of business productivity. We’ll continue to focus on integration and optimize IT, We will deliver on the potential of SOA, and componantization, but I personally believe the next big piece of productivity comes from the people side of the equation.

My laptop, and my head for that matter, have information that would help others do their jobs. If they could use what I have, it would save them time. We haven’t come anywhere near realizing the potential of focusing the expertise of our people in solving customers’ business problems. My out of control in-box dilemma, for example, is indicative of this potential for productivity improvement. We need to work better, work smarter and expand the productivity potential. We need to focus on optimizing human creativity and potential on solving problems.

We need to bring software tools to the market that provide better visibility into business performance, facilitate better decision making through highly parallel analysis of the efficiency of different scenario’s and focuses the expertise and creativity of knowledge workers. If we could gather and have access to all of the information and research on the many distributed computers and in the heads of many individuals in or organizations, find a way to get it, organize it, make sense of it and make it available to the right people in the right context, we could save months of discovery and development time.

Another area I’m very excited about is the profound impact deep computing will have on our society. We are deploying deep computing capability that is allowing us to model human protein folding. It’s like the introduction of computer modeling in the automotive industry. Through that process, we shortened the product development cycle from 9 years to 9 months. The potential for innovation in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medicine is tremendous.

The other phenomenon that I find extraordinarily fascinating, and very fundamental, is the trend towards openness and community based development. We are in the midst of a process of rebalancing the role that intellectual property protection plays in our society and at the same time the internet has provided us with this extraordinarily efficient and cost effective means to collaborate. As a result I think that the rate and pace of innovation will continue to increase. It is a very exciting time to be in the information technology industry.

Unfortunately, Doug then told the world that he thought that the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is the most important movie ever made.  I watched an entire audience lose respect for him at that point.  It prompted me to write this post.

A Crappie day after a Crappy week

This Fish is a Crappie

I could have done with out the events of this week, so I took some time to recouperate. That was why I didn’t post the last couple of days….

First things first. I got to hear about a report where our programs finished a gnats toenail behind another Software company (rhymes with Lycrosoft) and I got to spend the better part of 3 days figuring out why we didn’t know it was happening. As it turns out, the analyst group “forgot” to notify us, but admitted they should have, of the 2 analyst relations reps that covered this report, one retired and the other moved out of a/r 6 months ago, so guess who got left holding the “garbage” bag……moi.

So I needed something to take my mind off of one of the worst weeks I’ve had in a while by doing two of the things I like, Fishing and Martial Arts. Friday went to Judo class and threw some people around (O Goshi, Uki Goshi, Hane Goshi, Harai Goshi and Ju No Kata) and got thrown some also. I felt a little better.

Today I went to the I went to the Raleigh Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo . This next sentence is for Nancy and Steve. I went shopping and it was at a fishing show.

Anyway, I got a new Crappie pole that I can’t wait to try out as they’ll be biting soon.

Next week will be better, it could only go one way after last week…I hope. Anyway, I’ll have a great interview with Doug Heintzman who will expound on Research, ODF, Software Group and some other really interesting things….don’t miss it.

Bandit, out of commission

Had to take my dog Bandit in to the vet to have a lump removed from her head, you can see the stiches in the picture. No real worries, she fared well should recover without much trouble.

As I’ve Blogged before , she’s my day-pal, keeping me company and making sure to bark whenever I’m on an important call. But she’s been moving slow while recovering.

Don’t worry, she’ll be back on patrol soon, just call me and hear the barking concert to find out it’s true.

IBM leads in patents, good for VC's

Once again, for the umpteenth time in a row, IBM leads in patents. There is also a component of working with the Open world increasing relevancy. Here are excerpts from the official statements:

The initiative has three elements:

· Open Patent Review – a program that seeks to establish an open, collaborative community review within the patenting process to improve the quality of patent examination. This program will allow anyone who visits the USPTO web site to submit search criteria and subscribe to receive regularly scheduled emails with links to newly published patent applications in requested areas. Established in conjunction with the USPTO, this program will encourage communities to review pending patent applications and to provide feedback to the patent office on existing prior art that may not have been discovered by the applicant or examiner. Professor Beth Noveck of New York Law School will lead a series of workshops on the subject. For more information, visit Professor Noveck’sproject website.

· Open Source Software as Prior Art – a project that will establish open source software – with its millions of lines of publicly available computer source code contributed by thousands of programmers – as potential prior art against patent applications. OSDL, IBM, Novell, Red Hat and VA Software’s SourceForge.net will develop a system that stores source code in an electronically searchable format, satisfying legal requirements to qualify as prior art. As a result, both patent examiners and the public will be able to use open source software to help ensure that patents are issued only for actual software inventions. Information for this project is available on the OSDL web site.

· Patent Quality Index – an initiative that will create a unified, numeric index to assess the quality of patents and patent applications. The effort will be directed by Professor R. Polk Wagner of the University of Pennsylvania with support from IBM and others and will be an open, public resource for the patent system. The index will be constructed with extensive community input, backed by statistical research and will become a dynamic, evolving tool with broad applicability for inventors, participants in the marketplace and the USPTO. Information about the Patent Quality Index is available also.

Recently, IBM announced that we’ve opened up the entire patent portfolio for our VC’s. Since we are driving towards open standards, connecting the dots here is not that difficult.

Working with IBM isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but we’re making steps to make our IP meaningful, and available to startups and a lot of other folks that would benefit from IBM help….what’s to lose?

Set goals and try to be number one. Attain your goal


I hate people that brag, it’s a quality that bores most people. Back it up by fact and don’t boast.

But statistics don’t lie. I set a goal of being number one in the gym for December with the end result of improving my fitness. The results are posted today. There are three categories, calories burned, weight lifted and the combination of the two. While the combination of the first two is not posted, I reached my goal of leading the gym after finishing between 3rd and 7th for 11 months straight.

Note that our workout machines are networked by ethernet and the results are tabulated by the computer. For the skeptics, the weight is in pounds, not grams.

So sorry if I’m hypocritical here, not trying to be. It was about achievement.

Set goals, stick to them and attain the results. It applies to personal, spiritual and professional life.

Went to the Rodeo, here are some real cowboys (with sore butt's)


Last night, I took my family to the rodeo, the World’s Toughest Broncs and Bulls championship tour. Good wholesome family fun, and more pairs of Wangler Jeans,
Justin Boots, big belt buckles and John Deere/camo-huntin’/fishin’/
Stetson Hats in one place than any Outdoor store. Boy did I feel at home.

Talking about culture, the jeans all fit where they should have rather than the prison girlfriend barely hanging on for dear life oversized tent pants that you see glorified on TV/video’s/movies and in high schools.

What a hoot! Bareback and saddle bronc busting,


Barrel racing by Cowgirls,

and the longest 8 seconds of life – Bull riding.

We’ve always had a love affair with Cowboys, and these were the real thing, not the farce that the recent movie Brokeback Mountain has tried to portray. The announcer joked about this movie and killed the crowd with laughter. They knew the truth. This was a packed house of families having a ton of fun. We sure did.

From the looks of these shots, there are some sore cowboys and backsides today. This was a competition tour for money, but think back to the old west when they had to break horses and herd cattle to live. Today, we’re desk jockey’s.

Here are some Cowboy facts, more of us could use these:

1. They were never looking for trouble.

2. But when trouble came, they faced it with courage.

3. They were always on the side of right.

4. They defended good people against bad people.

5. They had high morals.

6. They had good manners.

7. They were honest.

8. They spoke their minds and they spoke the truth,
regardless of what people thought or “political correctness,”
which no one had ever heard of back then.

9. They were a beacon of integrity in the wild, wild West.

10. They were respected. When they walked into a saloon
(where they usually drank only sarsaparilla),
the place became quiet, and the bad guys kept their distance.

11. If in a gunfight, they could outdraw anyone. If in a fist fight, they could beat up anyone.

12. They always won. They always got their man. In victory, they rode off into the sunset.

Gates, IBM is number one, but how many balls can you juggle?

At CES, Bill Gates said IBM is our number one competition . Ok, I’m fine with that, as I’ve said before, everyone shoots for number one. At least we’re relevant to them.

Here’s my point, I’ll use an analogy. To win an Olympic medal, you have to keep your eye on the goal, win the Gold. You train hard, eat right, strict schedule and most of all FOCUS.

Microsoft is trying to release Vista, compete against Sony and Nintendo with the XBox360, fend off Google, win ODF issues (perception and reality), legal battles around the world on monopoly issues, fight off Linux both in server and in the desktop, Google issues, Yahoo issues, instant messaging, dot.Net in the middleware space, office application needs/updates and star office competition, mobile and hand held device operating system competition, need I go on?

So how in the world are they going to focus on winning? I get multi-tasking, although Windows doesn’t do that as well as Unix/Linux but come on! How are you going to concentrate on not dropping a ball here.

One would say, yeah but these are only Software issues, look at IBM or Sun that has hardware and software, and services. This would be a good point, but Microsoft is doing better than Sun, so throw them out of this argument for now.

IBM has lived through these issues more than once, trial by fire changing from tabulating machines to computers, from near death to resurrection by Gerstner, changing the business model from mainframe only to software and services. Oh yea, and a lot of mistakes along the way like the one that made Microsoft a company, giving away the PC operating system.

Does Microsoft need to re-invent themselves? Not in the traditional sense, but they are going through growing pains that will either get them focused or diluted to just juggling.

Going away? Hardly, they’ll be a force for a while. Sun was a force during the dot.net bubble also. IBM was a force during the 360 days also.

Predictions here? No, just wondering about history before it happens. At least they think we’re number one. Or maybe Bill is trying to get the press to focus on IBM and not on him.

CES, answering my question on video downloads

CES is quickly becoming the new Comdex. Formerly the convention for new and geeky toys it now is as my teenagers say, where the cool kids go.

In my blog on time shifting , I hinted that i-tunes was only the beginning and that there would be many more sources out there and could someone point me to them.

Thanks Bill Gates

Thanks Google

Knew someone would have the answer for me. The ability to download what I want, when I want it will avalanche, as will the devices to load it to.

Harriet Pearson – Head of Privacy and Blogging at IBM, today's Blog Interview

Today is a very special interview for me. Harriet heads up two critical areas for IBM, and it goes without saying that both are important and sensitive. These issues must be handled accurately and with dexterity. Harriet excels at her job, and you’ll read that she is very qualified to do so.

As with each of these blog-erview’s, it’s a peek into who they are and what they do. Harriet spared some time to speak to me for this and I found her both interesting and enjoyable to speak to. I’m most grateful that she granted me this gift.

As I’ve said before, I’m a blogger, not a journalist. Harriet did a Podcast with Scott Berinato that you’ll also find interesting.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job)?
I’m IBM’s Chief Privacy Officer and VP of Corporate Affairs. Being CPO means I’m responsible for what IBM does with data about clients, employees and other people. With the amount of data we are responsible for managing globally, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we are committed to leadership in this space. I’m responsible for our having the right privacy policies and processes to advance that leadership. I also work on IBM’s efforts to help society meet the challenge of preserving privacy in the face of incredible advances in how information can be managed for value and insight. We have a conviction that technology and solutions can do a lot to protect privacy, to enable the balance of privacy expectations and the sharing of data.

I also coordinate the efforts of a team of executives who lead IBM’s engagement in important social and policy initiatives, such as intellectual property, open standards, health care and workforce issues.

Some prior work experience that you can tell?
I have checkered past (just kidding)! What I mean is that I’ve been lucky to be exposed to a lot of different disciplines and fields, which is, as the world gets more complex, a good thing. I majored in engineering and worked first with Shell Oil, drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Wore a hard hat and coverall, complete with the Shell logo (still have the outfit in case any needs a Halloween costume). I then went to law school and followed my passion for energy and environment issues to a law firm in Washington.

But I never really LOVED my jobs until August of ’93 when I joined IBM, in the Government Programs group. I got to represent IBM on a range of public policy issues, some that drew on my previous background, and lots that didn’t–like energy efficiency, healthcare, labor and retirement policy. I first started working on privacy issues in 1997, as part of that group.

Lou Gerstner appointed me Chief Privacy Officer in late 2000, and I kept that responsibility while I did a fantastic two-year rotation in Human Resources in corporate and in IBM’s Systems business. I loved learning about the business from a different perspective,

After that, I went back to working on policy issues, now as corporate affairs VP.

Any hobbies or fun stuff you want to discuss?
Sure. My main focus outside of work is my family–I have 2 kids and a husband who’s the home parent. And, of course, Jack our Schnoodle (cross of poodle and schnauzer–the ultimate in hypoallergenic dogs…in case any of your readers have allergies). My daughter and I sing in a 90-woman chorus that sings four part a Capella harmony, barbershop style. We’re available for singing valentine and birthdays. Want to hire me? 😉 (again, just kidding!). But check them out:Potomac Harmony Chorus

How do you describe what you do to your family and those who don’t work in our industry?
IBM is a global company that helps businesses and other institutions to innovate, and my job is to work across our company on projects that drive innovation on societal and policy issues that matter in this day and age….issues such as healthcare, privacy, security and the emergence of new ways to communicate such as blogging. These are interesting and exciting issues that need leadership and I’m fortunate to be part of the team of folks that work on them.

Recently IBM made an announcement about genetics, can you comment about that?

Yes, Steve Lohr of the New York Times wrote an article about it. I particularly love a piece in CSOonline.

There were factors that led us to adopt a policy on genetic information. We looked at what’s happening at the leading edges of health care industry..what’s known as information-based or personalized medicine. Genetics are being used to figure out who is predisposed to a disease or who is less susceptible. People are concerned that information might become available and used to harm them, e.g. deny health insurance. In our effort to improve quality of healthcare for our own employees, we realized people were afraid of the information being shared, perhaps they might lose health insurance, or not be eligible for insurance if applying for a new job.

So, we changed our global employment policies, saying that we were not going to use genetic information that employees might share with us, to make employment decisions, e.g. health insurance coverage decisions. IBM’s proud of our history of being ahead of the curve on equality and non-discrimination issues. This issue is another one where we are ahead of others in committing not to discriminate against someone based on something that, after all, can’t be changed and is very personal: one’s genetic makeup. In the US alone, we provide access to health insurance for over 500,000 employees, dependents and retirees, so our policy change was noticed and, I might add, welcomed by a lot of folks. (Wash Post editorial). I’m very proud of that.

What are good things about your job?
I work on some of the most interesting and important issues of our day, and work with incredibly smart and committed people in business, government, non-profits and within IBM.

What are things you would change?
In high school, take up a foreign language like Mandarin. Travel more in Asia.

How did you become one of the lead executives for blogging at IBM?
Before it was organized, a group of dedicated bloggers came up with some guidelines on their own (working on a wiki!) so as to not to run afoul of IBM policies. Through networking, they got connected to a few of us in corporate headquarters. I worked with a team of experts from HR and Legal to “polish up” our bloggers’ guidelines and build support for them around the company. Truthfully, it wasn’t hard to do at all, since our bloggers had done most of the work themselves….we just coordinated the effort to release guidelines and provide more tools and enablement to our growing community of IBM bloggers. Last I checked, we have over 16,800 registered on our internal blog central site, and lots of them are blogging externally. As a privacy expert, and ex-HR executive, I am fascinated by the potential for blogging and related phenomena for individuals, media, society and of course business–potential that’s both positive and, at times, uh, challenging. Good cocktail conversation, for sure.

What is your vision on the future of privacy?
It’s inevitable that our expectations of privacy–and how we achieve them–will change over time…they always have, if you think about it, stretching back to the origins of human society. I think that the next decade will be hugely important to develop the right set of public policies and private sector privacy and security practices, especially as we become increasingly networked as individuals (think blogs, blackberries, sensor-enabled credit cards) and as enterprises. It’s inevitable that we’ll become more comfortable sharing information–just look at what teens are willing to write on their blogs! But at the same time, people will demand accountability and transparency–WHO has data about them, WHAT are they doing with it, and HOW can we make sure I don’t get harmed?

Time shifting


I got what I wanted for Christmas, a video I-Pod. Yes, it’s one of the coolest tech toys I’ve had in a long time. As a blatant request, please send your favorite audio and/or video download links as I’m busy trying to add content (don’t worry, I haven’t run out of stuff to put on yet, but I’m looking for cool stuff that I don’t know about, but know it’s out there).

I’ve also had a DVR for over a year and today I read this story from CES. It’s not hard to put 2+2 together here. We’re watching things differently, calling our own shots as to when and where.

It used to be we could only watch what was on when it was on. Then VCR’s helped us to watch when we wanted to, but the serial-ness of tape was at best OK for searching.

Now, we can watch what we want, skip the commercials (except the Superbowl) when we want. We can slow-mo the car chase scene’s, the foot out of bounds or whatever.

More important and finally to the point of this blog, is that we watch differently, or time shift. For example, there is 40 minutes of content per hour and 20 minutes of commercials. That means I can start a 4 hour NASCAR race 80 minutes after the start of the program and see the finish on time and skip what I don’t want to see.

Now, thanks to the web and the power of consumer demand, I can time shift on the Video I-Pod and watch my stuff on a plane or at the Gym or wherever. Here’s a small list of what is on today as an example (ESPN is the only thing that interests me on this list, but the point is that lot’s of content is on the way).

A sampling of video content available now or soon online:

— AOL (aol.com): Starting early 2006, episodes from TV series such as
“Welcome Back Kotter,” “The Fugitive,” “Eight is Enough,” “Growing Pains”
and “Lois & Clark;” on six online channels

— CBS (cbs.com, cbsnews.com): Web-only video supplements, soaps and shows
such as “CSI” and “Survivor;” talk-shows and interviews with contestants and
actors. CBS News offers Web-only breaking-news coverage, evening news
segments and behind-the-scenes pieces

— Comedy Central (comedycentral.com/motherload): Clips from shows such as
“Chappelle’s Show,” the “Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “South Park;”
shorts, short clips from comedians’ stand-up acts

— ESPN (espn.com): ESPN Motion videos are embedded in most Web pages and
include game highlights and athlete press conferences; ESPN 360, only
available to some broadband providers’ subscribers, offers full archived
games and live sporting events

— MTV (mtv.com/overdrive): Live performances, music videos, interviews
with musicians, movie trailers, news

— Starz Entertainment Group (vongo.com): Subscribers pay a monthly fee
for unlimited downloads of more than 1,000 movies, including “Finding
Neverland,” “Annie Hall,” “Good Will Hunting,” as well as concerts, extreme
sports and Starz TV programming

Source: the companies