Competitive Eating – an undisputed champion

Editor: It should be duly noted that Joey Chestnut, American has eclipsed Kobayashi as the champion of the world in many categories, especially hot dogs.  While I give Kobayashi credit for making the sport famous, but there always is a bigger fish.  Joey has decimated the other eaters.

Once again, the 4th of July comes around and we have that time honored tradition of patriotism, no wait, fireworks, no wait…..YES, the Nathans hot dog eating championship at Coney Island. I told Steve O’Grady and Teressa Jiminez at RSDC that I’d be blogging this on the 4th of July, but I may not be blogging on a holiday, no one would read it, and how would you know not to miss this if I didn’t give any warning?


Of course, the undisputed champion is the waif – Kobayashi from Japan. His streak of winning this contest includes:

  • 2001: 50 hot dogs
  • 2002: 50 1/2 hot dogs
  • 2003: 44 1/2 hot dogs
  • 2004: 53 1/2 hot dogs
  • 2005: 49 hot dogs

He of course has other records including 67 hamburgers in 8 minutes, 83 vegetarian dumplings in 8 minutes, 100 steamed pork buns in 12 minutes, 69 krystal burgers in 8 minutes and 17.7 pounds of cow brains in 15 minutes.

He does it by swallowing the dogs without chewing. He breaks the dog in half, eats it then dunks the bun in water and puts that down.


Kobayashi will be up against other competitive eaters like Eric Badlands Booker ,Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas who put down 37 dogs in her 105 pound frame last year and others who will try and lose to the Michael Jordan of eating. There is an outsider from America, Joey Chestnut who has downed 50 dogs in a qualifier.

There is a point in which you can’t eat any more and that is like hitting the wall in the marathon. You just run out of space. Then there is the deadly “REVERSAL OF FORTUNE” in which the contents of your stomach come back to life. When I mentioned this to Steve and Teressa, they both agreed that the word reversal will never be the same and the visual will be with them for the rest of their life.

So, it will be broadcast on ESPN at 12:00 PM on July 4th, don’t miss it. It only lasts 12 minutes, but eating will never be the same for you.

IBM is winning a lot of technology comparisons lately

I just read today in the Austin American Statesman that IBM has the fastest 3 computers in the world, and 243 of the top 500 fastest. Also stated was that we can do more when we need to.
I also read that Rational Application Developer tool set has achieved top rankings for the second year in a row, according to a market research study as reported by eWeek.

Further, IBM’s partnering programs were rated number one by IDC .

I sense a trend here, it looks like our technology and our programs are working well. I know that it has been IBM’s mantra to serve the customer, and much of that is relationship as well as good technology. I think we’re on the right track.

The Tour de France – about to start


Well, it’s finally here, the crowning of the next king of cycling.  The Tour de France start on July 1st, and fortunately for me, I have a DVR and can see it later on OLN tv…I just have to stay out of the blogs before I watch.  It’s always funny to hear Bob Roll mispronounce the Tour dee France…
It was easy the last 7 years, we pretty much knew who was going to wind up with the yellow jersey, it was just a matter of when he wanted it to happen.

So will it be Ivan Basso winner of the Giro d’Italia, Jan Ulrich – the last Tour winner before Lance, Floyd Landis?  Will it be Team Discovery, Phonak, Deutsch Telekom in the team championship?

The flat stages can be a bit boring, but the sprints at the end are good.  The team time trials are a ballet of coordination and aerodynamics.  The individual time trials are mano-o-mano, but the test of manhood is in the mountains.  Anyone who has ridden a bike uphill knows it’s tough, but do it for 6 hours against the best in the world?  The winner has a big set of stones.

Sametime is not sometime, rather all the time

Our WPLC (Lotus) announced Sametime 7.5 this week. I’ve been using it now for a while as a beta product. I use any number of instant messaging products depending on who it is and what they use. We at IBM use Sametime and up until now, instant messaging was IM to me, just another package to get work done. This announcement has the ability to change the direction of what IM is and how software can work together.
The fact that it is integrated into Microsoft applications, blackberry, Motorola Q and any Eclipse oriented environment changes things now. It just closed the world a bit for me. I’ve always wanted a one size fits all device and software that actually talked to each other. I view this as now headed in the right direction. We’ve even announced upcoming support for OSX Mac users. Don’t get me wrong that any one product should be a panacea, because I firmly believe that competition drives up quality and drives down price, but the point is to have things work together seamlessly.
Not trying to be a commercial here, but the audio and Video support brings in a whole new list of things to do on a device or through an IBM platform. Not that I think email is going away, but we are a society who wants things faster and better and Sametime 7.5 is a step in that staircase.

Note: Earlier this year, IBM announced that Sametime is connected to AOL, Yahoo and Google…I think most have heard of these companies.

Other Note: Good Technology also introduced a service for Domino users to remotely check email on any number of devices. Partners supporting your products and platforms are important factors for success (note to the micro channel marketing department there).
So more things appear to be working together, a good thing and maybe proof that our strategy for open standards is working. I find it interesting that IBM is reaching out into the Microsoft space to work with their software. I don’t think it’s as much an olive branch as it is a proof of what we are trying to do to get software to work together. It will be interesting to watch whether Microsoft closes the kimono more or opens up to us.

I can’t believe I’m the only one out here that wants to have things work together without getting a computer science degree first.

The executives call this Sam Time as Palmisano uses it to constantly stay on the ass of his direct reports.  The best feature is DND which keeps people from bothering you and gives the appearance that you are there or in a meeting.  Unfortunately, it is now used as a babysitter to see if you are working or not.  Instead of a tool, you have to have it on so management can monitor you like a child, rather than trusting you to do your job.

Analyst Relations, it's not always a flat world, there are bumps in the road

With all respect to Thomas Friedman and his book, there are conditions that affect our ability to do our job sometimes. Technology has flattened things up to the point of social constraints.
For example, when we are trying to get a number of pre-briefs completed prior to an announcement, time has affected us. Mostly they are when we try coordinating a world wide event. We’ve dealt with the time zone issues via email and are able to live with a half day delay of communicating with the other side of the world, as long as it is straightforward. Every time you go back and forth there is the half day delay, but this is manageable. We even have a short window when we either get up early or stay late on both ends.

Now, it’s summer in Europe, and that means that many are taking advantage of the short periods of good weather (depending on how far north you live), so we come to a period where there are lengthy vacations. This changes the flatness of the availability. I’m not knocking vacation as the argument can be made that the quality of life is more important that 17 hour workdays. Half my family live in Europe and they think we Americans work far too much.

Nevertheless, it means there are certain geographies that can’t be addressed with the immediacy that the product owner desires.

A tangential issue of flatness occurs when we make a complicated announcement (I’m speaking for large companies and large analyst groups here) that can cross several ownership area’s on both sides. Analysts for the most part are very perceptive and ask deep and probing questions that affect other areas of our company, so we must bring in those respective areas….Again, geographical or political boundaries come into play. Then getting a hold of traveling execs or IBMers (I’ve Been in a Meeting) becomes an issue.
Conversely, we might be making a complex announcement that for large firms with specific areas, the analysts may not have expertise (or must also respect other analyst specialties or areas of coverage) outside of their focus. Small analyst groups can either be specific enough to a subject that the other information does not affect them, or are generalist enough (mostly they are educated enough and know more than us about a lot of our stuff) that this does not come into play. But put together a large company and a large analyst firm and you get complexity over a simple task.

Other speed bumps occur when an analyst (or the company person) shifts jobs or places. Then we have to try to hunt down the person(s) to solve the questions in hand.
Am I complaining? No way, that keeps us in a job to try and figure it out. But it just goes to show how technology can be overcome by social and people issues.

Blogging in Linux

I’ve made the successful transition to a dual boot machine.  I’m posting this blog from the linux side with relatively little content, but doing it in linux for the posterity of it.

Now I have to figure out the rest of of the OS, but I’ve successfully migrated my Lotus Notes as my first application.

I will have to go back and forth until I have all my data, some applications that are Windows only, that sort of thing…..but just like blogging, I’m off to a new frontier.

Off to Linux

Just like why I’m blogging, I’m installing Linux. I figured that if I’m going to talk about it, I need to experience it.

Fortunately, IBM has a desktop install that I currently have underway, approximately 817 files to be downloaded and installed. The only issue for me is that I work remotely and I had to go into an IBM facility to load it. So I blog here from a cube farm in a building that is half IBM and half Lenovo.

But the good news is that I’ll work as much as I can from Linux, except for the Windoze only programs that I have to keep until I find a work around.

I’ll have to speak with Steve O’Grady to see how he migrated his iPod/iTunes to Linux, cause that’s one of the programs on the table for me.

Oh, I forgot to mention that one of the reasons I’m switching is the millions of blue screens of death I’ve experienced, the delay’s in operating system releases, the bugs, security, and some amount of arrogance.  By the way, I’ve been at this since DOS 1.0, so I have experience with PC OS problems.
I also need to expand my boundaries technically. I can’t bear to sit back with the norm, it seems I have to push the envelope to test my abilities, hope I can pass the test.

Things you learn about at your Analyst Relations team meetings

A while back at a Software Group analyst relations team meeting, I had the chance to sit next to Barbara E. (last name held by request) and she was lamenting why her husband needed liked to fish so much. I gave a completely logical answer that we men need an outlet at middle age, and fishing is a whole lot better than skirt chasing at the bar scene. In fact, I encouraged her to support her husband to fish more.

Well just before I went to RSDC, I was able to take him out and help her with that generous support of her husbands activities which now includes his very successful website where he is the leading distributor of Chatterbaits. As for fishing? He skunked me from the back of the boat as I had a day of casting practice and he caught all the fish. Here is a picture of Karl with a Roland Martin 8 pounder….SON.

karl fish.JPG

I also learned that another member of the A/R team played tennis for Rollins College and I dated one of her teammates in the 70’s….small world.

Here’s a picture of me on my boat.  Part of Barbara’s question about fishing was, were all of the electronics on the boat necessary?  I answered that I have 3 fishfinders on my boat, so yes they must be necessary.  All is understood now.  Fishing is good for husbands and their wives should support this activity.
john on boat.JPG

I  don’t really remember what we discussed at the meeting regarding analyst relations.

24, The Movie

My favorite TV obsession show, 24 is now being slated for a movie.

This is either good or bad depending on how they do it of course.  The show is compelling because everything is compressed into an hour per episode, so we must assume/accept some things and read between the lines due to time.  Stretching it out allows for more travel between places, more detail (not always a good or interesting thing) and maybe we’ll finally get to see if Jack Bauer actually eats, sleeps or goes to the bathroom.

See the Jack Bauer kill counter by year here.

What I wonder is if it will go back into time where there were some really great characters and villains that would make for a gripping plot enhancement.  Remember the plot is good guys vs. terrorists trying to use weapons of mass destruction (so far we’ve had nukes, chemical weapons and deadly viruses).   President Palmer was great, Nina Myers was someone to really hate…..and so on.
Let’s not forget the pseudo 24 movie – The Sentinel staring Keifer Sutherland and Michael Douglas (I’m not linking to that loser) recently that made as big a splash as a small wave at Waimea Bay, Hawaii. (non surfers, it goes 20 feet high in the winter).

Most movies of TV shows are crappola, like more than half of the Star Trek movies, and I’m a major Trekkie.   Let’s hope for the best.

IED's, explosives and explosive behavior

IED – Improvised Explosive Device

IED – Intermittent Explosive Disorder, better known as road rage.  Just renamed this week.
How can it be that these two have the same acronym?  Maybe it is the result is the same – either death or destruction of property?  I know when I lived in Miami, you had to be very careful about who you got mad at and gave the 1 finger salute to.  Since there are a lot of drug bad guys there, people got shot for road rage.  A lot of cars got run into and a lot of fights happened.
A study was released Monday in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, and was based on a national face-to-face survey of 9,282 U.S. adults who answered diagnostic questionnaires in 2001-03.   It showed that about 5 percent to 7 percent of the nationally representative sample had the IED disorder, which would equal up to 16 million Americans. That is higher than better-known mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Coccaro said.

The average number of lifetime attacks per person was 43, resulting in $1,359 in property damage per person. About 4 percent had suffered recent attacks.

Lot’s of people, soldiers and civilians have died because of IED’s in the middle east.   Seems to be a link between the two –  bad guys and a bad attitude.

Now I’ve been as mad as anyone else at someone cutting me off, but I’ve learned that getting mad doesn’t do any good.  But when it happens, some times I wish I had an IED for my IED behavior.

iPoding again – update


I was complaining discussing my travails with podcast alley and getting non itunes podcasts to my iPod. I’m happy to report that I found Juice off of
I’m feeling pretty good about it as I’m now getting feeds off of podcast alley, ipodder, podcast pickle and others with ease. Moreover, I’m pretty glad I went outside of my comfort zone and got what I needed to work. I’m equally happy I got it off of sourceforge.

Now, it’s time for a couple of sporting events that interest me. The Tour de France and the 24 hours of LeMans which until I just typed this, I didn’t realize the French connection. I hope there is a good podcast.

If not, there is always RadioLeMans which comes out of the UK of all places, and is quite good coverage. In fact, now that I’m really getting off topic, I find that auto racing coverage is usually best out of the UK. My favorite racing podcast is the chequered flag from BBC radio 5 Live.

RSDC, Analyst Comments

I asked a number of analysts for their comments on the show. Some graciously provided their thoughts, others declined due to their firms comment (approval) policies. I always find them insightful and in the case of Carey Schwaber, very witty. for those who weren’t at the show, the Rational uniform was a blue polo shirt.

Here you go in no order other than how they sat in my email.
Steve O’Grady – Redmonk
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of RSDC to me has been the focus on
ISVs; Rational has traditionally been supporters of both the Java
and .NET ecosystems, and the emphasis now appears to be growing the
overall ISV network aggressively. What would be interesting would be a
Rational that more aggressively embrace dynamic languages; that would be
an opportunity to grow a volume base of developers, and the ISVs would
likely follow.

Melinda Ballou – IDC
“The concept of open commercialization — applying community development
and some of the other benefits of open source to the evolution of
commercial products — is intriguing and engaging on many levels. How open
can a commercial vendor be about its bugs, its testing issues, its
performance? Yet focused community attention could be a potent force for
change and product evolution, as well as enabling closer attunement with
end-user direction. Given Eclipse’s past history in this context, we look
forward to seeing appropriate evolution of these same concepts in a new
context, and to seeing how far and how fully IBM Rational is able to apply
this radical concept to its commercial product line.”

Carey Schwaber – Forrester
This year IBM had an impressive amount of new functionality to release. The 7.0 version of Team Unifying Platform is a big step forward. And better yet, it’s also an indication of a really exciting product direction for IBM.

Also, I’d really appreciate it if IBM Rational employees would ALWAYS wear light blue polos. I can just imagine: You’re waiting for a latte at Starbucks and you think of a question about ClearQuest. What do you do? Ask the guy in the light blue polo waiting next to you.

Mike G.

Ask Carey Schwaber, she’ll know what to say.

RSDC, analyst technical review

We took the analysts on the showcase floor to have them review the product offerings from both the Rational and developerWorks Brands.  Hats off to Diane Flis’ team of Monica Grace, Teressa Jimenez and Karen Moore who were there and pulled off another analyst event at RSDC.


Bola Rotibi, Ian Wesley and Clive Longbottom.  Not featured for Ian’s sake, David Beckham.  Your mutual agent ok’d the publishing rights for the photo.


Showcase floor busy with activity.

Blogger Meetup at RSDC

Well, after all the anticipation, we finally had it last night at RSDC. Thanks go out to Steve O’Grady for giving us advice on this and for showing me the best comment related to the meetup which came from an unnamed IBMer who said he would go anywhere there were free drinks.

It was a success and step forward for IBM in progressiveness. As we’ve found with our partner programs, there’s nothing like face to face discussions, no matter how much you’re web enabled or connected through a myriad of devices.

My only regret was that Grady Booch who had agreed to be the host couldn’t make it. Please send him your best wishes. I’ll speak to his absentia presence at the meeting later this week.
Here are some photo’s from the meetup.


Steve O’Grady, Diane Flis, Rawn Shah


Rawn Shan, Steve O’Grady, Ian Wesley


Teressa Jimenez, Murry Cantor

Greg Hamilton, Colleen Inches

June 6, 1944 – Operation Overlord

I’m taking a quick break from RSDC to pay homage to a very important day in history, without which we might not be here blogging at Disney. D-Day was a turning point in World War II where so much could have changed for the worse except for the bravery of so many men from many countries to fight for Freedom.

For History buffs, here is the battle plan. So much could have gone wrong, including the weather which didn’t cooperate. Many died in the surf never having made the beach due to the fortified Nazi bunkers. But soldiers who were high school students and factory workers just weeks ago, showed courage that in a way saved the world. They took the beach, then fought to Germany and secured the European theater.
Here is a visual of the battle plan.


So I salute those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us. May we be thankful for their efforts and appreciate their contribution to our freedom.

Here is another link to the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

My real first day at RSDC

Today was the opening day at RSDC. If you go to the show blog page, you’ll be able to listen to podcasts of the keynote and of executives at the show. Quite a nice touch.


Above is the workroom for press and analysts.

We had 14 analysts and about 17 press attend for a total of 125 1:1 briefings with the executives of both Rational and developerWorks. Conversations were all over the board, so I encourage you to listen to the podcasts. Here were the analysts who are in attendance:

ZapThink Jason Bloomberg
Forrester Mike Gilpin
Forrester Carey Schwaber
Gartner Jim Duggan
Quocirca Clive Longbottom
Gartner Matt Light
IDC Melinda Ballou
Ovum Ian Wesley
Ovum Bola Rotibi
Redmonk Stephen O’Grady
EZInsight Liz Barnett
IDC Steven Hendick
CPDA Vasco Drescun
Burton Group Chris Howard

The evening provided a dinner at Shula’s restaurant for the analysts and the Execs. The press had their own get together to do the necessary shmoozing.

Tomorrow is another day of the same. Keynote, Press Conference, 1:1’s and Blogger meetup. A few links to it now besides mine come from Buell Duncan and Steve O’Grady.

My first day at RSDC

Actually, my first day at RSDC started at 3:45 AM on the Friday before the show when I went fishing at the Mosquito Lagoon right in front of Cape Canaveral. This is a speckled trout that was caught on a root beer fluke, sort of a mullet/shrimp imitator.

Unlike the massive amounts of cellphones, crackberry’s, laptops and other technology here at the event, there was nothing on the lagoon other than a GPS and a depthfinder on the boat. It was quiet and beautiful. What was really great was that we fished right in front of the space shuttle and the Vehicle Assembly Building at the cape. (OK, there is a lot of technology at the Cape, but not the layman’s variety that we haul around on planes and at user conferences).

So today, you’ll read about the Rational announcements, and I’ll blog about the analyst interactions and what they like (and maybe dislike) about the event, but my first day was with my great friend Frank on his new boat, enjoying nature and clearing my mind.

Here’s Frank with a nice Redfish that was a rod bender.

What it took to get to RSDC

The actual planning for the event started at the end of last year’s RSDC, getting a location, estimating the crowd, logistical things on getting a show site and such.

The Audience
For us in the communications world, we started in earnest around the PartnerWorld timeframe. There are many audiences at a customer event like this and many constituencies that intermingle. You’ll read from the other blogs about their lives and experiences at RSDC. Mine is working with the Analyst and Press, and the corresponding IBM AR and PR teams.

We first picked out the target list of analysts and press that follow Software Group, Rational or developerWorks. Then we went through the invitation process to get them there, knowing that there were a specified number of slots (other parameters defined this, but that is minutia not worth delving into). From there it was a match game on both sides. There was an interesting dynamic to this year’s planning as the SOA analyst event was at the end of last week, causing some decision making on the part of the analysts who follow both and the resources on our side knowing we had to staff and support both. SOA is an important initiative for us so careful planning to give it it’s due was appropriate.

The Scheduling
Once we had the audience, we had to do the scheduling of matching analyst (and press) interests and the right executives. There are times that execs are double and triple booked and it’s a logistical exercise that maybe the Pentagon could lend assistance to. The reality is that the actual scheduling goes on until the last 1:1 is held. Everyone is switching times and availability due to everything from an interesting briefing or customer they want to see to changing flight schedules. One has to be flexible to work out everything on the side of the Analyst/Press and the IBMers they are to meet with.

The Show Blog
Ever since developerWorks was the first external blog site, we’ve tried to push the envelope. Last year we held the first IBM coordinated show blog at an event and this year we are doing the same. We have both internal and external bloggers keeping you updated on their perspective of the event. We wanted to host the first meetup, but Lotus already did that….guess it pays to have your event first. I’m glad we as a company are having many factions working to keep current (or catch up) with the blogosphere. Nevertheless, we are having a meetup as I’ve gone on about ad nauseam on Tuesday night at the Dolphin bar from 6-8.

We had meetings for months getting the right people to blog and get them ready to do so. Some were already bloggers, some had to be registered to developerWorks and some, like mine are just links. We asked analysts to be a part of it and some did (thank you) and many declined for various reasons.

You’ll also be able to listen to podcasts of executives at the show. Here is the list:

Danny Sabbah, General Manager, Rational Software
Lee Nackman, Vice President, Product Development and Customer Support, Rational Software
Walker Royce, Vice President, IBM Software Services, Rational Software
Buell Duncan, General Manager, ISV and Developer Relations, IBM Software
Murray Cantor, Distinguished Engineer, Rational Software
Martin Nally, Chief Technology Officer, Rational Software
So you’ll get the range from newbies to veterans on this show blog. Pick your poison.

The Final Prep
Today is registration and final detail day. We’ll all get together this afternoon to go over last minute changes and who is covering what. Hopefully everyone will make it into town without flight delay and our planning will be complete. Then it’s blocking and tackling time. The most important capability in pulling these off is the ability to handle the proverbial monkey wrench. Someone can’t come, or is coming in a day late, or gets sick or whatever. The ability to deal with these issues and keep your cool is a valuable skill. Panic never helps.

So I look forward to seeing both my teammates for the first time in person regarding RSDC and the analysts I haven’t seen in a while, or in some cases since last year. Then it’s off to the races…

IBM Executives – Who are we? Rod Smith VP of Emerging Technology, SWG.

rod smith.JPG

Today, I’m once again very privileged to speak to another of the leading technologist’s at IBM. As with all these bloggerviews, I try to look at the person and their background rather than just a bits and bytes conversation. I trust you’ll find Rod to be as interesting and enjoyable to read about as I did speaking with him. I always look forward to these discussions with the deep thinkers of IBM, and it continues to give me confidence that we have some of the best and brightest working for our future.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job,)?
VP, Emerging Technologies-Software Group – What I was put in place for 10 years ago at IBM was to scope out emerging internet technologies that could have impact with our customers through their adoption, say 18/24 months out initially. One very important factor here is developing proof of concepts with customers to iterate and validate the business value. The other important part of my role is how do we then help the product team embrace these areas and continue maturing these technologies to be successful with the customers.

A good example of this is AJAX. Our customers have been asking us for a richer internet experience that would help drive more business, not flashy marketing ads as some folks first think. They appear to want something that is open, broadly supported by many companies in our industry, based on open standards or de facto standards – thru the browser, be it FireFox or IE or Safari for example. We have collaborating recently with other vendors on how we could achieve these goals. In fact, this week we met with over 30 vendors in Open Ajax summit. We worked on things like how we can create a place that customers could choose our products and feel safe doing so.

How do you describe what you do to your family and those who don’t work in our industry?
Most of the time i say I’m a Software Engineer – although I wish I had real time to code. It’s a Midwestern or blue collar upbringing I guess; We generally understate our jobs.
I try and keep it simple.

I do tell them that I work on technologies which they might be using on their desktop in a few years. Sometimes I can point to some that they are using today.

Can you tell us some work experience that you want to tell, how did you get to where you are today?

In college, I majored in Economics and then backed into computers & software. I was doing some econometric/demographic modeling and thought that software was more interesting. I hung out with a crowd that was always on the bleeding edge of technology, For example, they were doing ASCII based animation on vector Tektronix terminals – processing ASCII strings is very CPU intensive and very hard to do. If five folks were driving these terminals simultaneously, we could bring a DEC system to it’s knees. Lots of fun!

So in this crowd, learning new programming languages & then showing off what you could do – was huge fun. Back then, you showed your stripes by how many you could program in – which probably early on established my interest in diverse, new technologies. Then when I joined IBM it was right when the PC was introduced in the marketplace – and as you can imagine lots of new software possibilities.

Here’s an small fact, I’m a big Apple fan. I still have a 128k MAC and a LISA that IBM that we convinced IBM to buy – at $10 grand no less.

So what does learning the Mac or Lisa have to do with my IBM career? It taught me to continually get out of my comfort zone keep learning things that might not appear to have direct, immediate career value. This eventually it turned out to be a big asset – both in terms of technologies and what worked or didn’t in the marketplace. That is what helped me think about technology differently – keep them in context to marketplace adoption. Additionally, as you can imagine (an IBMer at a Mac developer conference for example) I made many external connections. Some of those folks now are VPs or CTOs who I can call on for their advice, opinions and many times industry collaborations.

For what it’s worth, I’m still use an Apple today. Probably one of the few that carries it openly in Armonk.

What are your hobbies or fun stuff you want to discuss?
1. I’m a avid music fan. I wish I could say that I’m a decent musician, I used to play guitar many years ago but work & life got in the way. So I’ve begun relearning guitar playing and I really enjoy it. When i don’t travel, I practice a lot because I find that music is inspiring. I’m teaching myself jazz and blues and enjoy it immensely.

I listen to a podcast – The Roadhouse, the finest blues you’ve never heard – very good material.

2. I’m a digital photographer. When I went to the Galapagos Islands, I became a big Photoshop fan, Now I’m also a wannabee graphics artist – you just get hooked doing all those cool Photoshop tricks. That is one reason why my presentations are so visual – hopefully they’re informative – but I do it because I really hate to bore folks, which is easy to do if you’re not thinking in terms of what your audience finds interesting. I know I wouldn’t want to be bored so i want to try & keep audience engaged.

What are the biggest challenges at IBM?
That is a tough question. One answer I’d give is getting technology adopted in our products. Our teams have hard, measured and valued requirements from our customers. I often challenge our team to work with customers early on to demonstrate our value of a technology, then build relationships with product champions, if you will, that can help understand & implement the customer needs.I don’t like to promote technology for technology’s sake. I want to do it in the context of it’s potential business value. This is where my discussions with analysts and reporters come into play to understand if it has or will have business or customer value.

Then, if we are right – then we rely on some luck and what we call demand pull – our product teams read the publications or analyst reports and then come to me and to talk about the opportunity.

Bottom line, if have decent enough insights into how technology will grow in adoption, but failed to get it into products, it doesn’t help IBM. Our loss.

Let me say that our products teams do listen, that is what differentiates us from competitors. They are excellent on execution.

Describe your relationship with analysts, how do they help you?

It’s easy as a technologist to drink your own kool-aid. When I talk to analysts about emerging technology, I want to hear their unencumbered thoughts back to me which are objective. I want to know, am I off or am I close?

I know that Analysts hear from customers. There can be communication gaps between what think customer want and what customers are really saying. Analyst’s help me articulate & clarify the customer & business value. I also find they help me with clear messages to customers. They are good report card on whether I’m on the right track or not.

I value analysts thoughts & opinions a lot. I listen and if i don’t understand something they’ve said, I stop and dig in to internalize their value before I move on with either the messaging or the product.. Web services is an example – they helped in validating this technology direction that’s now blossomed into SOA. I remember doing a keynote interview with Daryl Plummer in 2001 on web services – a spur of the moment decision in front of 1200 folks – most of who had very little idea why they should interested! Daryl and I did an hour regarding the value towards lowering integration costs and new business opportunities; it was the first big talk on subject – before any of the technical conference picked it up. We got tremendous feedback from the audience.

Since analysts read this, what would you like to say to them about what you are doing right now?
Web 2.0 technology is starting to generate interest from customers – Ajax, Atom, Microformats, tagging and REST. Analyst see broader value of Web 2.0 and how enterprises are going to be writing applications in the future.

What is the next big announcement or product you are working on that you can talk about?
For mashups – we are working on mashup makers, we hope. We are using wiki technology to show how Mashup Maker can be used right to a browsers to assemble information. This is an area which is starting to evolve from infancy and we are going to continue exploring. Here’s an example of results from using this technology.

Weather Movie
Hardware, My Projects Movie

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming years, either product wise or how you will work differently?
I’m excited about Skype & Gizmo especially around their toolkits. We need richer way of communicating, Audio and video conferencing still ties our hand behind our back. We need a richer environment where I can stay home and can have such a richer experience to work with people. It could save hours or days and improve my productivity to stay home instead of being on an airplane and then I could have the same impact.

Off to RSDC

I’ll be offline until this weekend as I’m leaving for RSDC.

I’ll get to see my Mom for the first time since my Dad’s funeral, so we will get to catch up on things.

Speaking of catching, I’ll do that tomorrow, see the previous blog.

Then it’s RSDC and blogging time. Besides the usual array of activities that include keynotes, analyst briefings, blogging and other show staples, we’ll have the meetup and a lot of material to cover.

So good luck to the SOA meeting today and tomorrow in NYC. Lots of things happening at IBM right now.