Shocking Demographics

I sit hear blogging on Sunday afternoon while watching the Bassmasters Championship , later today I’m going to be watching NASCAR. I find this press release on my RSS feeder where I track both (to my employer, I only check these after work, I’m busy with only analyst relations issues 100% of the time): Racing Car Industry and Pro Fishing Have One Thing in Common — Fresh Fish TV about a new Fishing channel.

Great, all I need is another channel, but heck, last week on my – You know you’re a Redneck Calendar was if you tape fishing shows….which is what I’m watching as I type (ok it’s TIVO, but I was at church).

The killer was this line in the press release, “One thing the producer’s of the Fresh Fish TV show realized is that fishing market demographics are very much the same as NASCAR.” They go on to state that the fishing industry is a 41 billion dollar industry. I don’t know the facts on NASCAR, but I’m betting it’s twice that. That’s more than a lot of countries.

Let’s see, here’s a list of some demographics between the two, I wonder if you can draw any conclusions here.

Fishing is the largest participant sport there is with over 45 million fishermen (not sexist, a woman is a fisherman also), Racing had 19 of the top 20 spectator events last year.
Both take place outside
Both are predominantly Southern oriented
Both are family oriented
Both fan bases are patriotic
Both fan bases are loyal to country
Both fan bases are loyal to sponsors
Most fisherman like to hunt
Most race fans like to hunt
Both handle a GPS with the ease of a fork
Bar-b-que is a staple
Both understand meteorology and know how weather affects performance
Both like big motors that go fast
Both could survive without a grocery store
Both drink a lot of beer (not the drivers, at least when they are doing their job)
Sponsors are crucial
They know how to make big money (some discount these two as a redneck crowd, but the winner of today’s tournament picks up $500 thousand for winning, another $1-2 mil in sponsorship, Jimmy Johnson won $2.4 million for the Daytona 500 last week, not chump change).
Fishing TV ratings are on the increase
Racing TV ratings are not only on the increase, but are passing most other sports (advertisers are not lost on this fact at all)
Fishing competitors are fan friendly (no fights in the crowd or dissing the fans)
Racing competitors are fan friendly

So they find that there’s a similarity between the demographics? How could that be?

Finally able to blog again, like missing a friend. Can I be that busy?

I just went the longest period of time without blogging since I began. I’ve missed days because I just didn’t have anything to talk about, but this streak has a different cause. Before I get to the point of discussion, let it be known that I really missed blogging. It causes me to focus on a subject and be lucid about it. This comes naturally to some, not to me. I also have to line up future blogs as I can’t just sit down and write all the time.

Advertisement: I lined up Grady Booch, Drew Clark (IBM VC programs) and my favorite PHP programmer , as well as I”m going to blog about an analyst event next week that has in part kept me too busy to write.

I’ve been too busy, a pretty lame reason I admit but true. Now that I have that out of the way, I knew this the entire time, and even talked about being too busy when speaking with several analysts and co-workers.

This brings me to why. When talking to the others, I got the same answer, yes they were busier than normal and no, they didn’t know why either. Here’s my hypothesis.

A few years back, we said the answer to problems was bandwidth. It was cheap and getting cheaper and we should just throw bandwidth at a lot of situations and it may not be the perfect answer, but it would solve the problem. Now we have lots of connectivity, anywhere, anytime and while not instantaneous, we can get what we want, who we want and can pound away at enough doors, one will open.

Handhelds, access devices, instant messaging, cellphones…more ways to do more stuff and reach more people. This has turned the volume knob up also. Before, we’d send out a request and wait for an answer, now we get it right away and are distracted to answer these requests. How did we find our way for 1000’s of years without a GPS, or meet up with someone else without a cell phone?

We are far less patient for things now. I fish and patience is a virtue. You have to wait for the right conditions, the fish to move up to your space, the weather, sticking with a pattern, whatever. Patience is a virtue they say. On the other hand, my son plays video games….it is an attention span zapper, but a sign of the times. So like the gamers, a lot of us at work are expecting more and more now in everything. If it doesn’t happen now, run and gun to something else. Even as I type this, I’m getting IM’d about decisions on bathroom decorating from my wife.

So am I getting more work done? Outside of blogging, yes. My real job is analyst relations and I’m getting more done and working at a faster pace, doing more and being more efficient. I have to.

I need to find some more time to fish.

Blogging at IBM may help overcome the search for the needle in a haystack, or help to turn the aircraft carrier

It becomes clearer to me when I speak with analysts that IBM is a different company to work with. We’re some 300,000 + employees in over 160 countries and finding your way around IBM is difficult. Ok, I didn’t climb out on any limb here. If you look at revenues or patents, you quickly find IBM is also the largest IT company in terms of products and services.

So we have to find ways for people to try to negotiate inside of IBM. Heck, sometimes it’s hard for IBMers to do this, although we have some pretty terrific social networking products internally that we are trying to push out externally.

I often hear, “why don’t you just do this or that and it will fix your x problem”. That statement doesn’t take into consideration the breadth and depth of such a big company. If you consider a small company, compare it to a rowboat. One paddle forward to starboard and one backwards to port and you’ve made a 180 degree turn.

Not so with IBM, we’re an aircraft carrier. To launch planes, you turn it into the wind. An aircraft carrier is 30 stories high and has over 5000 people, a floating city. It doesn’t turn on a dime, but when it does, it has more firepower that some small countries.

Such is life at IBM. so we’re not as nimble as rowboat, but we bring some firepower.  Unfortunately, we are often dinged for this inflexibility that handcuffs our communications.  It is led by a paranoid team of New Yorker’s, who don’t understand social media and it’s power.  The are stuck in a print minded world at the time of this post and lead a life that is sheltered from any reality other than serving the masters in Armonk.  This is part of the short sightedness that causes IBM to move so slowly.

Now to my point. How the heck do you find the right person in a 300,000 person organization. A complex question with equally complex answers. I don’t have the magic bullet, but I am going to say that blogging will help.

Soon, we’ll have a launch page that takes you to the community that you are looking for. On developerWorks, there are zones for each of our software brands, there is a mainframe blog, Healthcare blog , open source, lots of communities.

Once you find the right person, or advocate you can be very effective. We have lots of programs for this, but even then it can be a formidable task.

So Admiral of the bridge, turn the Nimitz into the wind and launch the planes, let the blogging begin to help find out more about IBM and the person you need to find.

If it's Tuesday, I must be in Paris, No, make that San Francisco

Here I am in San Francisco looking out over the bay waiting for a cross IBM meeting on SaaS. This is a big issue for us so this is a big Pow-Wow. They’ve brought together the technical, marketing, p/r, a/r and executives to map out our yearly activities.

I go to a thousand meetings, most of which cover a lot of topics. This one is special, so take from it that it’s IMPORTANT to us. More on that in later blogs.

I’m going to be on the road a lot until April, so I’ll try to post what we’re up to. There’s a big target on PartnerWorld the week of March 13.

On another note, IDC rated our developerWorks program number one (tied with Microsoft) which is good for us as we have only had the program for 5 years, and Microsoft has been in the game for 15 years.

Finally, I sat next to a fellow trekkie on one of my connecting links, so instead of climbing into my travel cocoon, I actually had a pleasant plane conversation.

The Dynamics of Working at a Home office

A few years back, there was a request from management stating a lack of office space, requesting volunteers to transfer to working from home. I had my hand in the air like Arnold Horschack from Welcome Back Kotter was standing first in line.

Not that working at home is a big issue, rather it’s the discussions I have with others on their views of the subject. It invariably is the same conversation centering around whether they could do it or not and why. These subjects tell me two things immediately. Whether they are extroverts or introverts, and what are their pet sins.

Extroverts (as expected) speak up first with pretty much the same thought. I have to be around other people. It is caged in different words like, I need to have chit-chat, I want to know the office gossip, I get ideas from others or the general I need to be with my team. I will admit there are times that you can have hall meetings to get something done informally that is effective.

The introverts say I can get my job done better without the distractions and I contact the others with email, vmail, IM and phone enough to get my job done. Those that know me know that I’m absolutely the last person to ask if you want to know office gossip, most of it goes past me for reasons ranging from I don’t notice some things (one co -worker dyed her hair blonde 3 weeks before I noticed) to I really just don’t care what they did at the mall over the weekend. They also say I don’t miss the commute or the traffic (me here).

I’ve run it to both types who are very effective at their jobs and those who are lumps like Walley over there. I hear two things about working at home, I can’t leave my work alone and wind up working more because I’m at home and can’t leave it alone or……….

I couldn’t work at home because of my pet SIN!!!!!!!

The most common sins are:

  1. I’d eat too much
  2. I’d watch too much TV
  3. I’d do housework
  4. My kids keep me from working (small kids, before they go to school, then you have to look for another excuse)
  5. I’d be a slob and never leave my pajama’s (I haven’t figured out the problem here)

So here’s the bottom line. You have to work at home like it was your office (except the chit-chat). You need to be disciplined, organized, dedicated and work like your boss is watching over you. We’re grown up’s here that have a job to do and a sense of responsibility to get it done.

You should be able to contact me and not know whether I’m in a cube, big corner office or at home in my sweats. As Larry the cable guy would tell you, Git-R-done.

Nice Chip Job Apple

Macslash reports that Apple picked Intel for it’s new processor because it was faster and they got more attention from Intel. Ok, I get that. What should they say, we picked it because it was the same?

Today I read stories from the WSJ, Financial Times, Reuters (sorry, they’re paid links, but the stories are all over the place) that IBM has a new Power chip that is clocking in at 6 Mhz and lower power and heat consumption. Just after the big Intel/Mac splash, here comes a chip revolution.

Was this a bad choice by Apple to switch? History will decide, but I’m thinking that since IBM has all the game boxes and there is a move to control the consumer market in the house for audio/visual/lights/AC that this is going run together. The person that controls the entertainment and the house from a pc is a winner.

So I ask, did Apple make a mistake going to Intel? Switching your OS to work with different hardware is no small feat, so there had to be some thought going into it. I thought when they made the switch, here comes another Intel box, and since it was vehemently denied, it’s probably truer than we were led to believe.

All the articles today say that the other chip makers are going to have to do some catch up to the new Power 6 chip, so who’s made the right decision here? Apple has made some good decisions before. I-Pod is a killer product, but more of a one off as more stuff is going to be integrated into the phone/mp3 player/thumb type email device. Palm was once dominant too, ask Blackberry users what they would rather have there.

So I’m going to be watching the Mac numbers and Apple spin.

Disclaimer: even though I’m and IBM’r, I love my video I-pod, and I’ve worked as an Apple dealer selling tons of Mac’s in a prior job. I have no affiliation with the chip division other than through working for the same company. I looked at this one as if I was an outsider.

Grocery shopping observations and comedy

I’ll state up front that Dave Barry should have written this, because I just can’t do it proper justice, but here goes.

I love going to the grocery store, not just because I get to buy stuff to eat, but it’s a people show extraordinaire. I pretty much hate shopping, it’s go get what I need and get out like most real guys. But the grocery store is different.

I first noticed that I liked going back when I lived in South Florida, where I spent most of my single years. People would get dolled up to go to the mall, out to dinner, the movies, anywhere. But ask them to go to the store and they’ll put anything on, anytime of day. I’ve seen some cuties that looked like death warmed over picking up something to eat. There was of course, some making the walk of shame picking up eats or coffee on the way home early in the morning.

Since it was South Florida, there were a few phenomenons. If you went to the store by the beach, people would shop in their bathing suits. Being a normal single male (walking hormone) at that time of my life, this made for quite a bit of entertainment. I’ll make only passing comments here about liking the frozen aisle.

The other phenomena there is that there were a lot of old retired cranky people, mostly moved down from New York which made for endless shopping entertainment. Where I lived in Delray Beach, they used to bus them in from the retirement villages, either Kings Point or Century Village, affectionally known as cemetery village. They’d hit the Publix en mass and raise the level of complaining to new highs. I varied between going to see this almost like going to a sporting event, and avoiding it because it could really grind on you. These folks could spend 30 minutes complaining to the manager about a 5 cent increase in the price of anything. If there was an advertised special, they moved faster to get there than the rest of the year, except maybe to the bathroom after prune breaks. Hitting each other with their shopping carts was hilarious until it happened to me. I politely informed the person that if they did it again, they’d wind up in the meat section.

You can tell pretty much the state of life they are in by what’s in their cart. The college kids usually had health food like cheez-its for breakfast, a frozen pizza and a case or two of beer, real cheap beer like old Milwaukee, Busch, Pabst or Schlitz when it was available. Young couples would have 40 cans of baby food and diapers. Middle age had progressively healthier food, the elderly’s had prune juice and polident.

The time of day that you shopped will vary the crowd also. The moms running households dominate the morning, Working moms and dads are on Saturday mornings. The folks picking up something for dinner after work are regulars from 5-7 PM. Anywhere from 10 PM on, especially are the partiers. Anyone after 10 in the twinkie aisle had the munchies.

Who don’t you want to see at the grocery store? Anyone you know usually, especially someone from work. Unless you’re already lunch buddies, the level of uncomfortableness increases dramatically with how far away they are from your cube. What’s really embarrassing is someone you know and forgot their name. People duck down the quickest escape route to avoid conversation like there was a nerve gas explosion for this one. I find it especially rewarding to see someone I know who looks like death warmed over at the store, but they spend extra time to be dolled up at work. I’ll always make it a point to say hello, even when I wouldn’t want to talk. One person whose name I’ll not mention does have her hair always perfect, I can’t figure this out. My son’s kindergarten teacher told us at orientation that seeing someone at the store was her least favorite place to see a parent as she would have to run down the kid’s behavior.

Back to South Florida, seeing someone you work with in a bathing suit at the store was like a touchdown and an extra point for me. Invariably, they acted like they were naked in public for which I got endless pleasure.

It’s a lot different now that I live in North Carolina and am married and running a household. It’s a contest to see if you can hit double or triple coupon day to see how much you can save. The old people are different here also. I heard the other day, “please get in front of me, you have a baby and I’m not in that big a hurry”.

Also, as I’ve mentioned, I have a dog, and we have to pick up the output when we take her for a walk. Only plastic (not paper) works for that. Since she goes for a walk about 20 times a day, we need a big supply of bags. So its always a struggle to get as many bags as possible for this while the store tries to cram every item you buy into as few as possible.

And about me, think I care what I look like? Think again. I’ll put on jeans and a hat and it’s off to funland, hunting for co-workers. Too bad we live inland now.

Life at IBM analyst relations, Kicking off another year

After making it through the start of the year, Lotusphere is under our belt, kickoff meetings mostly done, PartnerWorld planning in full gear, it’s time to get the nose back to the grindstone.

This means that one has to search out all of the analyst report opportunities for the year (done), identify the Brand/Group/Beat/whatever you’re a part of strategy and get going on it. This means SOA, SaaS and AJAX partnering issues for me, but everyone has their own issues. So we’re about to kick off the travel schedule of talking about our strategy (ok, we really started at the big A/R meeting in December) but you have to repeat any advertisement 3 times for it to have full effect.

If you were a single product company, that would be an easy issue, take Intel based servers, or a database product… would be cut and dried. Not at the Big Blue. We cross territories that range from hardware to software to services to research to this, that and the other. So the trick is finding the opportunities and building virtual teams. Oh yeah, there is the analyst side too when coverage area’s or industry trends change and you have to relearn their lineup.

Doing this properly requires talent at identifying opportunities, experience in working with others on similar things, a lot of elbow grease and a little luck sometimes. If you pull it off, you get to show IBM in it’s best light. We do a lot of things well for customers, remember they vote with their money….financials are out for the year…anyone can see who has been getting the votes and who is losing votes.

Not doing this properly is a missed analyst opportunity. I hate losing as much as anything so we’re trying always to get this right. It involves talking to the analysts (sometimes they’ll help by saying all of the angles of the focus of their study), asking a lot of questions and good organization.

IBM analyst relations is in as good of shape right now for this as I’ve seen. So maybe my vision isn’t 20/20 anymore, but I can tell when things are working and when their not. We’ve done some behavioral things correctly with the analyst groups and with the analyst teams to be able to perform well for the company. Kudos to the execs that have done this.

What I need most is space to work without IBM Corporate Communications getting in the way as they try to treat a/r like p/r.  At least for now, they don’t have a clue what we do, so it’s easier to get a good job done than the crap they have to put up with on the PR side.

So onward to the projects, MQ’s, Waves, white papers, studies, focus groups, meetings, briefings, all the things we should be doing to properly tell the story that should be told. Remember the fable about the 5 blind men describing an elephant????? Well, we continue to open our eyes in analyst relations, and if you believe our past CEO’s and their successor’s, Elephants can dance.


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 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 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 ( 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 (, 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 ( 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 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 ( Live performances, music videos, interviews
with musicians, movie trailers, news

— Starz Entertainment Group ( 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

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.

First Day of the Analyst Meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sayings by Will Rogers

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

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


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

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

What I did on my Thanksgiving Break

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Geoff for the ride of my life.

Today's quiz

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

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IBM Bloggers, Who are we? – Bob Sutor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mantenance update on my blog

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

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

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

Remember the Elevens

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

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

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

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

IBM and Social Networking (IWB and blogging event)

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

On the panel was:

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

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

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

Bill Ives
Author, Business Blogs: A Practical Guide

Stephen Sparkes
Managing Director, Investment Banking Division, Morgan Stanley

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

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

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

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

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

Mike Gotta

David Weinberger

Press coverage:

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

IBM Software Tracks Blogs, Web Content
E-Content Magazine

IBM launches blog content monitoring software
Newswatch, India

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

Blog-Spotting With IBM

IBM Discovers What Willis Is Talking About

Cheeburger, Cheeburger, Pepsi, Chips

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

Cheeburger review in the Paper

More information and menu found here:

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

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

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

Computing at the speed of light.

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

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

IBM Slows Light, Readies it for Networking

Too cool.

Scoble has a big set of attachments/Customers do matter

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

12 reasons why not to work with Microsoft .

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

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

Adieu, Rene Moreau

Rene Moreau Fought in WWI

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

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

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

Aren’t Communities Great – again

I stole this title from Steve O’Grady at Tecosystems , partially because I’m in it, but also because it helped me find some lost co-workers.

In an earlier life, I was the Director of Marketing for a Disk Drive supplier that integrated storage and backup products into IBM PC’s and compatibles. I’d lost touch with almost everyone I’d worked with until this weekend when the head of R&D found me on Steve’s blog. Little did he know when he was writing about Danish translation that it was a tech meet up.

So I found out about some folks I used to work with, one of which is now a VP at Fujitsu. Email me Joel if you get this.

Updated meeting bingo words

I guess it originally was called BS bingo. Some of the oldies were end to end, best of breed, bottom line…you remember the game.

I’ve been in over 100 meetings and presentations by us and to us and I’ve got a new list. Feel free to comment with popular words that I may have missed.

Service Levels
Best Practice

And for the center box, the star is any acronym, SOA, XML, WSDL SOAP, SODA, SOBA, AJAX, PHP, LAMP….any will do.

What happened to my handwriting? I can't wait for Star Trek/Jetsons to get here

I took notes by hand at yesterday’s SOA event in Richmond. When I came back, I paid some bills by check. After I checked both, it occurred to me that I might be a Doctor with the state of my handwriting skills.

What happened? Well, it never was that great. I always admired the handwriting by the girls that was neat and always the same throughout their papers (and the same as all the other girls, unexplainable to me). I on the otherhand scratched out my papers, but as I’ve said before, most of what I do proficiently is by repetition rather than talent. My wife will take exception to my remote control skills which came to me naturally.

The reality of it is that I’m getting older, but I’m also typing most things. I take notes typing, IM, blog, shop, pay bills, balance my checkbook….all by computer. So discounting the age thing, I’m not getting as much practice as I used to and it shows..This is where I’m going to place the blame.

Which brings me to the second point of the title, I can’t wait for voice technology to be able to talk my input. Those that know me know I’m not a gabber, but when I say something, I usually mean to say it and I have a point most of the time (my son disagrees, but he’s a teenager so that explains a lot). I’d like to have the option to speak my input and have it come out correctly. I’m not going to digress to current voice capabilities, I know it will get to where it needs to be.

So back to the age thing. My hands aren’t getting any younger either, talking my input will save some wear and tear unless they invent an arthritis drug before I die.

I want to be able to speak to the computer like Mr. Spock or George Jetson to have it do my work. Computer, analyze the data samples from Rigel 4 and compare it to our dilithium crystals…..

For now, I hope that the credit card company can read my check.

Live long and prosper.

SOA for me, I'm off to Richmond

I’ll be in Richmond VA. the next two days at an SOA customer event sponsored by WebSphere. It’s the second time in a month I’ve done this, so I’m wondering if there is a trend I should be noticing?

Anyway, I’m helping out a hurricane victim colleague in analyst relations (sorry about that Sara) who was going to be the AR lead there.

Ironically, she lives about a mile from where I moved away from when I left Florida.

So Steve, if you’re reading this, no blogging interview with Willy….but he’s out of the country anyway.

SMB’rs, I won’t be on your call either. I’m a WebSphere pinch hitter. Hope I hold my own at the plate.

Fork in the Road for partners? Yes for some, Crocodile for others.

Oracle has bought Siebel, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and will likely buy others. Microsoft has bought Great Plains and Navision, today they announced a business intelligence solution going up against Cognos. All but Great Plains were staunch IBM partners. SAP has Netweaver applications. For the major middleware companies mentioned in the same sentence with IBM, those are facts.

The easy bandwagon is to jump out there and say everyone should buy a company and get into the application marketplace. Just ask the press.

Here is the speculation section. What will the outcome be with the applications marketplace? All the above mentioned major players have applications in the common business arena. IBM on the other hand is going to this market with partner applications as the solution. These are two pretty diverse paths when considering the partner aspect of channel conflict. Thus, the fork in the road

I am a staunch believer in capitalism, that it promotes competition forcing better solutions and lower prices, usually resulting in an overall better customer solution. How will this concept be applied to the aforementioned channel conflict and fork in the road?

The answer is that history will tell the ultimate story, but as with all things, it will not be a zero sum game for any of the companies mentioned. Partners will be motivated by who helps them the most. Sort of the capitalism statement. It will likely parody the political situation. The staunch believers (or those too far financially invested in a solution) will likely stay there. Those deciding on a solution, or moving to open source or have ODF issues or those pissed off at channel conflict or competition from their existing middleware supplier are at the fork. So the fight is not for the right or left, but for the middle….those at the fork.

Yogi Berra said, “When you get to a fork in the road, take it”

IBM is making a stand on supporting the partners and going to market with them as the application solution. There are co-marketing programs and 30,000 IBM sales reps helping them make sales.

Microsoft, Oracle and SAP have said where they are going to compete with partners, and hope they can drag enough other business along that are willing to go in their middleware space. Some partners will go that way, hoping that they don’t or won’t have to compete.

As a famous president once said: “To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will.” Ronald Reagan.

IBM Research Resources through alphaWorks

Research topics

alphaWorks is known for launching emerging technologies. With the research topics, we are offering a collection of resources – technology downloads, demos, articles, and resources – to help build awareness and understanding about an emerging topic.

It’s one of the few places in IBM you would actually want to go and yet might find something useful and interesting.

Research Resources

Don’t miss the opportunity to peek into the window of research through alphaWorks.

More on Maturing Workforce, % of the population over 60

If you haven’t noticed, IBM is speaking to the issue of the maturing workforce. I received these country statistics and found them quite interesting. There will be much more on this thread, but it gives a quick look at who is where in the age issue.

Census Research – Percent of Total Population 60+
All data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau

United States
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1980: approx. 16.07%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 16.27%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 16.81%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 18.41%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 24.21%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1991: approx. 15.65%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 16.70%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 17.86%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 20.00%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 27.75%

United Kingdom
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1991: approx. 20.92%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 20.42%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 20.91%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 22.54%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 27.39%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1992: approx. 21.42%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 23.89%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 24.88%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 26.58%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 32.54%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1991: approx. 20.40%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 23.27%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 24.91%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 25.88%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 32.90%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1990: approx. 19.14%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 20.53%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 20.84%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 23.00%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 28.49%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1991: approx. 19.36%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 21.75%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 22.68%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 23.94%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 30.08%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1990: approx. 8.45%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 10.12%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 10.90%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 12.38%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 19.94%

Korea (south)
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1990: approx. 7.65%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 10.88%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 12.73%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 14.87%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 26.13%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1990: approx. 17.40%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 23.14%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 26.12%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 29.74%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 34.24%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1990: approx. 15.55%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 16.47%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 17.53%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 19.56%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 25.62%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1980: approx. 7.33%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 9.88%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 11.26%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 12.92%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 20.77%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1980: approx. 5.4%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 7.8%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 8.82%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 10.11%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 16.13%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1980: approx. 5.46%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 7.29%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 8.19%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 9.47%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 14.11%

Percent of population aged 60 and above in 1980: approx. 11.90%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2000: approx. 13.89%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2005: approx. 14.32%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2010: approx. 15.09%
Percent of population aged 60 and above in 2025: approx. 18.33%

Ode to Executive Assistants

When dealing with analysts to set up meetings, there is time negotiations on both sides. This is not unlike most meetings, except that most of our executives are in demand by everyone. Their calendars are full all 26 hours per day

For example, IBM has offices in somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 countries. Our executives have visited all 300+ of them this year. With respect to that count, I’ve observed that there are 3 kinds of people, those that are good at math and those that aren’t.

So, I’m sending out a global thanks to the assistants who help make the briefings happen. They move meetings around, schedule call’s despite the time zone, country or predicament. Without them, we couldn’t get these exec’s to speak to the analysts or press.  They know that the execs are just props that do what their handlers tell them to do.  Without the assistants and the massive teams that IBM seems to surround an executive with, it’s a wonder that the exec can make it to the bathroom.  Sometimes it’s a wonder that the doors to IBM open given the leadership team.

Despite the pressure that comes with dealing with managing the life of the execs, the ones that I currently deal with are the antithesis of the pointy haired boss’s secretary in dilbert.

If you ever get the chance to say thanks when they call in, please do. Their life is a multitasking wonderland and they likely moved something to help us talk. My 2 cents for the day.

I’m back from vacation

Back, means sifting throught tons of email, mail, vmail, unread blogs and getting life back to normal…nothing new there.

I said I was going fishing with my sister who hadn’t been for over 30 years. Since she gave me her permission, I’m posting a picture of her redfish that she landed. It was a good fight and I was glad to spend time with her and my son.

No one at IBM got the Mensa question as I predicted.  They weren’t even close.  It could also be that they just don’t have a clue about the meaning of life in general which is likely if you’ve ever been to a meeting there…..especially with the executives.  That just deducts IQ points.

gone fishin – final parting shots

I’m leaving to go on vacation for a week. If you know me, even in the least, you know I’ll work fishing into it. This time I’m taking my sister who hasn’t fished in 30 years or so.

I’ve asked some folks to be ready with interviews when I get back so I’ll have some content.

So my parting shot is not just fishing pictures(pun intended), it’s my favorite Mensa question. Take a guess at it in the comments below, I’ll identify the winner when I get back.

Question: What is the meaning of Life. Give three examples.

No one at IBM will get this, there aren’t any that qualify for Mensa outside of me anyway.

alphaWorks, the window to IBM Research

There have been many announcements on the maturing workforce issues lately. I’ll spare you the gory details, but these guys have a lot of skills and knowledge that is both going away and needs to be transferred.

They are also getting older. I’ve noticed a few aches and pains I didn’t use to have, but nothing like those with accessibility issues, who are both young and old.

Saying something and doing something about it are two different things. The coolest place in IBM is the research labs. They don’t lead the world year after year in patents for nothing, they make great products there.

Yesterday, three alphaWorks technologies were announced to help those with accessibility issues. The headpointer, keyboard optimizer and mouse smoother.

Head Pointer


Keyboard Optimizer

Mouse Smoothing

Let me make the connection for you between alphaWorks and IBM Research. alphaWorks is the Software window to the research labs.

The Head-Tracking Pointer provides an inexpensive and easily-used mouse replacement for those unable to use traditional pointing devices. Using only software and any Web-cam, this application allows users to point and click with character-level accuracy by simply aiming their face.

Now stuff like this is cool, reminds me of the heads up display on fighter jets, or interpreting thoughts in the Clint Eastwood movie FireFox.

The Former Head of IBM analyst relations, who are we? – John Mihalec

I’m proud to start out the week with an interview that I’ve anxiously anticipated for a while. John Mihalec is the head of IBM analyst relations, no small task. I learned some very interesting things about John that I never knew, and I hope his work background will be as interesting for you as it was for me. Especially the political stories.

I have great respect for those who have served our country. This interview includes stories about analyst relations being analogous to the court room, poking fun at me for flattering the boss and comparing major political operatives to influential IBM executives. Enjoy the read as much as I did.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job)?
VP, Analyst Relations. It means that if any IT analyst anywhere in the world criticizes IBM in any way, by spoken or printed word, I have a problem. Since analysts make a living by (among other things) assessing vendors, and since IBM is the biggest, most comprehensive and complicated vendor, most days I have a lot of problems. But it also means that most days I have immediate, tangible, urgent opportunities to make a difference for IBM. And that’s fun.

Some work experience that you want to tell?
Well, I started out in politics, driving the campaign bus for Lowell Weicker’s first (and only) race for the House of Representatives in during my summer vacation in 1968. After graduation, I worked for Weicker on Capitol Hill for a year. After being drafted into the Army and Vietnam, I worked for him again on the Senate side while he was on the Watergate Committee. It was during this period that I also briefly had a second job as a ghostwriter for a retired FBI official named Mark Felt, who was then still telling everyone (including me) that he was most assuredly not Deep Throat. In 1976, with Weicker coasting to re-election, I left to join the White House speech writing team for President Ford. We gained 30 points in the polls in two months, but ended up losing to Jimmy Carter by a single point. After that, I worked as a speech writer for Illinois Governor Jim Thompson. Then I got tired of needing a new job every 18 months and joined IBM. Getting married also may have had something to do with it.

How do you explain what you do to non-IBM’rs, family or those that don’t work with you.?
It’s not easy given that most people don’t know who the IT analysts are, or what they do. Often I start out by asking, have you ever heard of a company called Gartner Group, or Forrester, or IDC? A few people have, and that makes it easier. I’m going to my 40th high school reunion this weekend, so that will be an interesting test of my ability to articulate it succinctly. Ironically, the reunion is being held less than a mile from Gartner’s headquarters, but I doubt that will increase the level of awareness about IT analysts among my classmates. We’ll see. Anyway, with family and friends I generally tell them that in the computer business there are all these research firms who write about the industry and provide advice to customers about what to buy, at the same time they also provide advice to the computer vendors about how to sell. (Listeners often see that as having, shall we say, inherent ethical challenges. But I assure them those challenges are completely manageable.) And then I say that it’s our job in Analyst Relations to make sure these research firms understand IBM’s products and strategies, and become convinced that IBM is doing the right things for customers. It’s also our job to listen to what the analysts are saying about us, and to make sure IBM harnesses the wisdom in those assessments.

What are good things about your job?
It gives you a lot of opportunity to be creative. Sometimes I tell people it’s like being an attorney in a courtroom with no judge and no rules of evidence, but just a jury….a professional jury that has heard case after case, and they’ve heard it ALL. And it’s our job to bring before that jury whatever facts or logic we can muster to make the case. Because IBM’s success in the marketplace depends on it. When you think about it that way, it’s a lot more exciting and challenging than most other jobs. Just don’t expect a TV show about analyst relations to replace Law & Order.

What are things you would change?
Honestly? I’d give me the same responsibilities, but more power and money to do the job. Most of our AR resources are dependent on unit budgets, and corporate spending targets. If it were only my call, there are people I’d move from here to there (probably China, India and Japan), and units that would spend more or spend less on Analyst Relations than they do. Generally, I see a dollar spent on AR as being more effective in driving business results for IBM than dollars spend in some other areas, such as mass media advertising. But IBM is a matrix, and I have to work within that matrix politically. No surprise there.

You manage one of the most (if not the most) effective analyst groups in the industry. Can you talk about why that is and how it came about (without giving away secrets)?
No flattering the boss, okay? If IBM has an effective AR program, it’s because: 1) a quarter century ago a guy named Sam Albert recognized that we needed to engage analysts as part of our selling process, and 2) certain senior executives (e.g. Steve Mills and others) were hip early on to the impact that analysts were having and the importance of managing our relationship with them in a dedicated, formal way, and investing sufficient resources to do that properly. I’m just the guy who’s been brought in to drive the truck over the last few years.

You deal with some of the most powerful executives in the industry. How has that changed the way you work?

Well, I worked with some fairly influential people in Washington before IBM. One time, during the Watergate hearings, Sen. Howard Baker leaned over and asked me if I had any questions for the witness. But I was just sitting in for Weicker at the last minute, had no idea who the witness even was, and declined. Wish I had a photo of that now, though. Compared to politicians, information technology executives are generally less egotistical and easier to serve and support. But they are also less used to being knocked around than politicians are. That makes some industry executives wary about going toe-to-toe with analysts. So the key variable in AR for our executives is not how they deal with us, their staff, but whether they are “fully there” when they engage the analysts. They should engage the analysts with respect on a level playing field, because there is gain to be had in both directions. Vendors executives can learn a lot , from analysts at the same time they seek to influence their views and sell “their story.” So it’s worth doing, and doing well, despite that fact that analyst criticisms are never easy to hear. The best IBM executives at all levels instinctively work to cultivate relationships with this key influencer community.

What do you think your legacy will be given all that has been accomplished at IBM Analyst Relations?
I expect the next person in this job will do it better than I have, and I will be disappointed and amazed if that doesn’t happen. This a march, and we learn something new every day.
What is your vision of the future for Analyst Relations.

What is your vision of the future for Analyst Relations.
My vision is that we will help IT analysts to increasingly focus on business issues (not just technology), that we will improve IBM’s ability to leverage their output to drive business results, especially in emerging markets, and that we become change agents and allies with them on societal and governmental issues where we have a common view, on behalf of the industry we both serve. And get home by 6 o’clock.

IBM Bloggers, who are we? – Ed Brill

I’m especially excited today, as this interview with Ed Brill is the first (in what I hope is a series) about IBM bloggers. Ed was nice enough to help point out that my RSS feeds got messed up when I switched templates. He performed this act of kindness when he didn’t know me from the next guy at the airport, which as you’ll read is where he’s been quite a bit lately. In another act of kindness, he stayed up late from who knows where to complete this interview.

When I first got on to blogging, Ed was one of the first guys at IBM I read. I encourage all of you to add him to your feeds.. He can also be found at developerWorks. So without further adieu…..Ed Brill.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job)?

Business Unit Executive, Worldwide Lotus Notes/Domino Sales. I’m responsible for the success of these products in-market worldwide. That means I work outward — with IBMers, partners, customers to provide the right solution with Notes/Domino, and inward with product management, marketing, development and support to make sure we are building a successful product.

Some work experience that you want to tell?

I’ve been at Lotus for a little more than 11 years. I’ve had a variety of roles: pre-sales engineer, Notes product manager, Domino product marketing, Notes/Domino offerings manager (what most companies call a “brand manager”), Lotus competitive strategy leader. Before IBM/Lotus I was in IT at US Robotics, FTD, and Indiana University Computing Services. I’ve been “online” since 1988.

Any hobbies or fun stuff you want to discuss?

I really enjoy travel and photography. I’m fortunate that my job takes me to all corners of the planet, and I’ve visited 45 countries so far (30+ for business). I rollerblade when I can. I work out of a home office in my hometown, which is a really interesting thing when you consider the global nature of our company and specifically my role.

How do you describe what you do to your family and those who don’t work in our industry?

Heh — I tell them that I’m responsible for selling Lotus Notes. We have good brand recognition so a lot of people know the product even if they don’t use it. My mom used Notes at her last job before she retired. If they don’t know Lotus Notes, I just tell them I work in computer software or “internet stuff”.

What are good things about your job?

My job is an MBA-by-fire — I get involved in all aspects of running a market-leading, mainstream product for IBM. I get to talk to customers every single day. I work from home, and love the flexibility that offers. I work with a product that gets press and analysts talking, that draws customers to conferences, and that continues to confound and irritate my competitors. Most of all, I have met and continue to meet some really amazing people.

What are things you would change?

I’d like to be able to get more mindshare for my product within IBM. I’d like to be able to react to market conditions more quickly than sometimes is possible.

What are the biggest challenges at IBM?

IBMers have hundreds of solutions we can talk about with customers — hardware, software, services, business consulting, training, even financing. Our competitors like Microsoft and Oracle get to have laser-sharp focus when they talk to CIOs and CEOs. It would be great if I could have every IBMer talking to every customer about Lotus Notes. I’m sure every product leader at IBM would say the same thing 🙂

How did you get started as a blogger?

My friend Volker Weber encouraged me to try it out, not necessarily with a goal in mind but because I’ve always enjoyed writing publicly. Over time, it evolved into a way to continue the one-to-one interaction I’ve had with customers in our online product forums over the years, with more focus.

How has that changed your job?

I consider my blog to be a critical part of how I can be successful in my job. I get a sense as to what is going on in the market, and my customers know that they have a source for up-to-the-minute, unfiltered information. I’ve been able to win in the market, and especially been able to defend against competitors who are more liberal with their use of fear/uncertainty/doubt in the market, all through the voice of the blog and the blog-o-sphere.

Since analysts read this, what would you like to say to them about Lotus?

The analysts are mostly saying encouraging and positive things about Lotus these days. I’ve been pleased that they mostly recognize that Lotus has successfully passed through a technology transition period, and that the Lotus business is presently successful and growing. I think what I’d like analysts to consider is more around applying a critical eye to some of the messages coming from my competitors, either about their actual vs. perceived success or the robustness of their solutions.

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming years, either products or how you will work differently?

I’m really looking forward to the evolution into a full contextual collaboration era, with some of the tools IBM Research has been building for the last few years coming into actual shipping products. Specifically, I’m really interested in convergence of mobile/pervasive devices, instant messaging and VoIP, and other tools that will really be intelligent about message delivery and filtering.

Any thing else I missed you want to say?

I think the market will notice soon that there has been a huge increase in the number of IBM bloggers in the last few months. We have some strong and important voices, and my IBMer blogroll grows by the day. We might not have been the first company to embrace blogging, but it’s becoming increasingly important in how we embrace the IBM values around customer success and personal responsibility. I’m not afraid to tackle the tough questions customers are asking, and I think more and more we will see supply chain and vendor transparency like that in-market.

When you’re hot, you’re hot

What’s the saying, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen? We’ll not us.

Right now, some of the hottest industry issues are falling into our lap. In no order, SOA has a lot going on, Maturing workforce issues and the ISV ecosystem heat up the fire. I know Lotus 7.0 is out there, but I’m hoping an upcoming interview with Ed Brill is going to cover that. Tivoli is active too, so I was harassing the a/r manager to be an interview so he can tell you what’s up. Don?

The SOA crowd has been full steam ahead lately (wish it was still talk like a pirate day , could use some lingo here). Nancy Riley’s team has been pumping out the work like banshee’s. This subject if executed properly by the industry can have a life of its own, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg. I know this as I discovered in tangential conversations with analysts, I’ve heard that many things can be a service like compliance and CRM, and that wrapping services around packaged applications is an issue.

Next is the Maturing Workforce dilemma. If you recall, the last presidential campaign told us that a lot of boomers are coming up on retirement. These are the guys and gals that brought us through the age of hardware/software/bandwidth/innovation/devices and you name it we can’t do without today. That’s a lot of skills and experience which are maturing. IBM has its’ act together and has a plan. All you have to do is read about this and you’ll see that issues dealing with transition to accessibility are covered. I’ve heard from no less than Amy Wohl that we have a story here.

Ah, and my burner, the ISV ecosystem. For some reason, recent acquisitions seem to have skewed the thought that if you don’t buy an applications company, you can’t play in the game. Guess what, the numbers aren’t supporting that story. I’ll let the statisticians tell you how much share CRM and ERP have in the application ecosystem, but for sake of this argument, I’m going with 15-20%. That leaves 80% or more to the rest of the applications out there.

So instead of buying a company just to keep up with the jones’, we’re sticking with our partners instead of competing with them. When it comes time to show up at the customer, we’re not going to be bringing our own application, we’re bringing the ISV Partner. We’re giving them programs and advertising buckaroos to help them.

Oh, and did I mention that we have the IBM sales force helping ISV’s?

So things are hot, and we’re in the middle of it, right where we should be.

A Long Day, and my Exhaust

Actually, it’s been 2 long days. I’m on a task that’s critical to our partner program and strategy. Why we’re doing what we’re doing and not out buying companies is making more sense to me every time we speak to analysts. Look for more on this topic in a couple of days. I’m hoping the analysts out blog me on this.

Between that and trying to fix the template on my blog site, it’s been a long couple of days. Although I didn’t realize it, my blogs are longer than I imagined, so I picked a different template that will allow for more text to be read on one screen. While doing this, i messed up all my RSS feeds and links and it took a day to fix. The good news is Ed Brill found it for me and I fixed it. The real good news is that he agreed to an interview, so I can’t wait to get that out as it seems the interviews are well received.

Now for the lighter side. My wife borrowed my truck to help a friend move. I recently had to replace the exhaust and being the Redneck that I am, I bought the loudest one I could find. The mechanic told me, “you won’t be sneaking up on anyone now”. Anyway, my wife’s friend completes the story and makes my day when my wife started up the truck to leave. Her friend says, you’re exhaust is really loud, maybe it’s broken. Life was good at that moment for me.

I know the New Yorkers deduct IQ points from southerners for stuff like this, but this goes back to an earlier post on why it’s good to be a guy. We get to play with toys all our life.

IBM analyst relations, who are we? Jeff Jones

The interview today is going to be with Jeff Jones, from the Information Management or Data brand. Analyst relations has a wide range of skill and abilities, Jeff is on the expert side of subject content. Enjoy the read.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job)?

My official title is Senior Program Manager, and I work in the Information Management part of IBM Software Group in Analyst Relations.. I haven’t been able to figure out what exactly this title has to do with my job, but that seems to be the norm in IBM.

Some work experience that you want to tell?

My background has involved a variety of software assignments. I started as an application developer in Purchasing Logistics for the division of IBM that built disk storage systems. SAP ERP software has replaced the software we built back then. A brief stint in IBM Research working on mechanical engineering graphics applications taught me about applications outside the norm of commercial business applications. Another brief stint in a corporate software strategy group taught me about the value of standards and the power of software integration. A long series of assignments in our database software group developed in me a huge appreciation for the genius in our software development laboratories and for the need to translate what happens in the labs for those on the outside that are perhaps not quite as completely immersed in it day to day. My current assignment allows me the privilege of communicating the latest and greatest to many constituents outside IBM: analysts, consultants, press, partners and customers.

How do you describe what you do?

In the whirling vortex of activity around Information Management, I work with IT analysts and consultants in two ways. First, I work to deliver our news and to educate this community about our Information Management software with a focus on database engines (Cloudscape/Derby, DB2, IMS, Informix, U2). Second, I work on behalf of our organization to seek guidance, criticism (always constructive) and comment from the analyst community to help us plan our future. Also, from time to time, I’m called upon to serve as a spokesperson to IT reporters and as a connector of reporters with analysts. Finally, I serve on the editorial advisory board of DB2 Magazine as a behind-the-scenes editor of this quarterly publication.

What are good things about your job?

What I enjoy most about my hybrid job is the constant and unblinking reality check it provides. No blinders are allowed; hyperbole is forbidden; acronyms are seldom tolerated. no one is allowed to drink the “koolaid”. Personalities and relationships have special value in this job. Clarity and brevity are the most precious attributes of every conversation. The team with which I work is a wonderful.collection of devoted professionals that make it a joy to open the in-basket, web browser and message window in the morning. A creative sense of humor is shared by all, and invoked often.

What are things you would change?

I would rewrite PowerPoint to allow no more than 10 charts in any presentation. I would rewrite Notes’ calendar feature to disallow the creation of meeting invitations that lack at least five sentences of explanation as to the purpose of the meeting. I would also remove the recurring meetings feature of Notes’ calendar.

Name a funny analyst story.

I know a couple of funny analysts, but they won’t let me tell their stories here. I’ve also noted that a significant number of analysts with whom I’ve worked share a love for music. This is comforting. One is a scuba diving instructor. Analysts are people too.

Describe an analyst win situation for you.

All analyst “win situations” seem to stem from periods where communication lines are open and used frequently, interesting IBM news is emerging, and customers are backing us up. It’s hard to lose in these situations.

Describe an analyst disaster for you. (no names)

Analyst disasters always seem to involve confusion and the poor handling of the aftermath and sometimes the “beforemath”.

What would you like the analyst’s to do differently, suggestions of what would help both sides maybe.

I’m not sure I’m in a position to tell analysts what to do., differently or otherwise. I’m happy to have them suggest to me what to do. So both sides of your question are covered.

Any thing else I missed you want to say?

Customers seem to be the key to success with our analyst community. Revenue is good; testimonials are good too. I know this isn’t rocket science. I would ask for continuing patience while we work on convincing more of our devoted customer base to share their devotion with the analyst community. Again, it’s all about communication pipelines kept open and relationships kept strong.

RTP, Celebrating the 40th Anniversery

Today, I attended the 40th anniversary of RTP at the IBM site. There was a band playing music from the 60’s (On the Boardwalk, Sugar Sugar, My Cherie Amour) and food at 60’s prices. Here’s the advertisement for it:

On Thursday, September 22, IBM in the Triangle Area will observe the 40th Anniversary of its groundbreaking for the IBM RTP site. To celebrate this anniversary, we have an exciting event planned for all IBM employees in the building 002 courtyard from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come enjoy a special, “1960’s prices,” luncheon menu, free IBM birthday cake, the finals of our IBM karaoke contest, a classic car show, skits and much, much more.

One of my favorite parts was the Gilligan’s Island event. 3 people were in rafts and the crowd got to shoot water balloons from bungee cords at least 50 yards away. I think one balloon made into a raft. One balloon went off target into the hot dog line. I would have shot them at the biggest crowd I could have found to watch them scatter like roaches in the morning when the lights turn on.

40 years is a long time. I read today that Tech companies rated RTP as the best place to have a company. I think it was woods or pasture 41 years ago. Now it has more Ph.D’s then almost anywhere else given the proximaty to Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State and Wake Forest. Here’s the link to the story.

So where did I fit in? I was in the car show. When I was 7, my dad bought this car.

(Photo by Dave Brainard)

It was his pride and joy. He willed it to me once he no longer could drive. I have kept it up in his memory and have entered it into car shows with good results. I’ve blogged about my Dad already and his WWII contributions:

There were other cars at the event.

Chris Bannister – 1967 Chevrolet Camaro
David Bannister – 1967 Chevrolet Camaro
David Brower – 1958 BMW Isetta 300 Deluxe
George Kavelak – 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport
Clifford Meyers – 1966 VW Beetle
Mike Petersen – 1966 Dodge Coronet 500

The Coronet and the Chevelle SS had 427 and 426 cc engines (that’s 7 whopping liters), real get up and go. Good ole American grunt.

If you read the internet jokes that get passed around, one of them is why it’s great to be a guy. On this list is….you get to play with toys all your life. Today is a prime example, and yes is it great.

I’ll leave you with the text on the sign that I had made, which I use when showing the car.

(Photo by Dave Brainard)

1964 PORSCHE 356C

This car is kept in Historical condition. It was delivered in 1964 to its owner, my father who drove it for 38 years. The one and only mechanic to service this car until 2002 was originally employed by the Porsche factory until his relocation to Florida. This same mechanic also helped the factory racing team at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring in the preparation of legendary racers such as the Carrera 6, 910, 907, and 908.

It was given to me in 2002 and is kept in it’s original condition to honor the people who built this car, the mechanic that kept it in proper condition and my father.

IBM analyst relations, who are we? – Nancy Riley

I’d like to point out that Jacqueline Bisset got this picture of Nancy before plastic surgery as the model for the doctor to work towards.

I’ve worked with Nancy longer than all but two other people at IBM. Our paths crossed in PR and AR, Networking and Software. We have a good working relationship that is based on the trust that when either one of us is on the job, we have confidence that it will get done right, without much intervention.

As with the other interviews, I don’t edit the answers so you hear it from the person as is.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job)?
Manager, WebSphere Analyst Relations — I manage a team of seven analyst relations professionals who interface with analysts who cover the application integration middleware space. Our product areas include SOA, ESB, web services, application server, integration, business process management, mobile middleware, and industry solutions based on middleware.

Some work experience that you want to tell?
My background is in communications and I’ve held lots of different comms roles in IBM, including marketing comms, field/internal comms, event planning, public relations and analyst relations. My previous job was as a PR manager, representing networking, security and e-commerce software products. My first job at IBM — and probably my most fun job ever — was developing marketing programs to sell computers to college students. We went to Daytona Beach for spring break and tossed IBM-logoed frisbees on the beach. Talk about job satisfaction!

How do you describe what you do?
We’re responsible for maintaining and promoting positive interactions with analysts and often that means putting them in touch with subject matter experts or supplying product information. We help the IBM teams distill their information and package it in ways that make it easy for analysts to digest, so that they in turn can advise their clients about our products. We hire analysts to help us refine our product and marketing strategies to make them understandable to all different sorts of customers.

When I tell my relatives what I do, I just say I work really long hours but I get to go to conferences at nice hotels and leave it at that.

What are good things about your job?
I work with a great team. I love the interaction with analysts — we learn a lot from them and it truly helps shape our product and marketing strategies. I get to be in meetings with a lot of really smart people. I like being able to influence the thinking of an analyst who maybe doesn’t think our products are as great as we think they are. Did I mention that I work with a great team? : )

What are things you would change?
As with any large company, sometimes we get bogged down in the internal bureaucracy and politics. Metrics reporting kills me. The number of internal meetings I have to attend kills me. We are often the first out the door with new announcements because we have to brief analysts well in advance of the official announcement, and it’s always a lot of last-minute thrashing. I would make it illegal to create a Powerpoint presentation that’s more than 20 pages and/or greater than 5 MB. (I can dream, right?) I would also have more in-person interaction, both with analysts and IBMers; we spend WAY too much time on conference calls.

Name a funny analyst story.
I’ve been around a long time, so permit me two funny stories.
(1) I was project managing an analyst briefing hosted by the IBM chairman. The meeting was being held at the very lovely Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. After an exhausting day, I collapsed into bed around midnight. At 2 am, the fire alarm went off. I jolted out of bed, threw on some clothes and shoes, and headed down 30 flights of stairs. About half-way down, I realized I had two different shoes on and hoped I wouldn’t see anyone I knew when I got to the lobby. When I got to the lobby, I found I was WAY overdressed because most everyone else — including MANY of the analysts attending our meeting — were there in their plush Four Seasons bathrobes. It was so hard to maintain a professional demeanor when what I really wanted to do was crack up at seeing all those analysts in their bathrobes! Wish I’d had a camera — would be great blackmail…

(2) I was hosting two analysts at a strategy planning meeting at an IBM site. Since we were all staying at the same hotel, I drove them to and from the meeting. On the way back to the hotel after the meeting, not only did I get lost, I got a speeding ticket (but come on, I was doing like 46 in a 35 mph zone). I tried to explain to the officer that I was lost, didn’t know the speed limit, etc, all to no avail. To their credit, the analysts were very sympathetic (and said I should submit the ticket on my expense account).

Describe an analyst win situation for you.
It’s always a great feeling to see an analyst quoted in the Wall Street Journal (ok, CNET is cool, too) with a really pithy and positive quote about our products. That’s something I can show my mom to prove to her what a great job I’m doing.

Describe an analyst disaster for you. (no names)
I’ve given out wrong telecon numbers more times than I care to remember. I’ve scheduled back to back calls with the same number and passcode so that caller #2 arrives on the line before we’re finished with caller #1. I’ve sent the wrong presentation. I’ve introduced people by the wrong name. They’re all just minor disasters though, right?

What would you like the analysts to do differently, suggestions of what would help both sides maybe.
I’d really love for them to schedule a conference in Maui. Aside from that, I’d like more turnaround time on the reports they send us for fact-checking. I’d like “group rates” from the larger firms when we’re engaging multiple analysts for consulting. I’d like easier rules for quoting analyst content in presentations and collateral. I’d like all of them to be as cool as James (let’s see if he reads this).

Any thing else I missed you want to say?
Considering that there are less than 200 people in our company of 300,000+ who do what we do, we should all feel very privileged to do this job! I know that’s hard to remember sometimes, but we are on the cutting edge of what’s going on with IBM Software and that alone can be a very cool thing!

Hey Microsoft, it's IBM deja vu… all over again

I’ve been watching this phenomenon happen now for a few years. In fact, because I think that James Governer is a better writer than me (ok, it’s not even close), I suggested for him to get rich writing this book….James, there’s still time.

Microsoft is facing what the old IBM faced in enough ways that it’s now not a conincidence. Since my due dilligence on this hasn’t been approved by anyone, I’ll just mention a few public similarities.

Back in the pre-PC mainframe heyday, IBM had what some would call proprietary architecture. The industry then revolted with of all things DOS/Windows, ethernet, distributed computing, etc. Now the roles have reversed and Windows is proprietary and IBM is pushing Open Standards. I guess it’s human nature to want to have control and to not want to be controlled.

IBM was the big bad corporation, Microsoft was the upstart that freed everyone from the data center. Now Microsofts server product is called Data Center.

IBM had some legal troubles with monopolistic behavior, I think Microsoft has it’s hands full with this distraction right now. I won’t go into distraction too much. I’ll leave it with if you take your eye off the ball, you can’t hit it.

These are merely symptoms of the condition though, here’s another. Yesterday, there was and organizational change in Redmond, Microsoft Management Undergoes Major Overhaul . I’ve been through 100’s of these changes in my career. Some really shook up a group and things took off (very few times did this happen), some were monumental failures (more often than not) and some were treading water (some things changed, but the results were about the same). One fact that is not lost on me is that when you’re killing the competition, or when things are working well, few teams will change their line up.

Re-inventing yourself is how a company can survive key times in their existance. Re-shuffling is not the same thing. IBM has had faced this a number of times (remember typewriters, 360, Akers to Gerstner, commitment to open), and now Microsoft may face an IBM sized challenge.

I spent a good part of the day with an analyst yesterday and we had this conversation (I’ll keep him anonymous for now). He rightly points out that one company doesn’t have to take away a big portion of the desktop OS market, but many companies can take a small piece causing the same erosion effect. Heck, even a shift in technology to something like a handheld device with lots of bandwidth can cause the OS to be irrelevant.

Other companies haven’t managed as well, remember DEC?

Microsoft has $50 billion cash sitting around, so they are not in financial trouble, so they could tread water for a long time. Managing shifts in technology is an issue, dealing with people and their loyalties (internal and external) is a bigger challenge. This is a fast and ever changing industry. It’s tough to keep up. My analyst pal and I also talked about the defining changes in history like from horse and buggy to trains, to cars, to planes.

The first closing I ever put on my email was this, change is the only thing that stays the same. Others point this out, it’s tough to get to number one, it’s tougher to stay there.

Everyone shoots at number one.

Will history repeat itself? Not exactly, but there are only a few big corporations and their problems, while not exact are similar.

I’d like to get in my DeLorean with a flux-capacitor and go back to the future to see what happens and how this works out. Maybe James will be rich enough to invite me to his new place in the Mediterranean that he can buy from book royalties?

IBM analyst relations, who are we? – Cameron O'Connor

One of the threads I’m going to follow from time to time will be interviews of some of the analyst relations team. My goal is for analysts to get to know us better and to hear our side of the job, first person. I play requests, so if there is an a/r rep you want to hear from, let me know. Also suggest questions that I’ll include.

Today’s guest is Cameron O’Connor of the Rational A/R team.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job).

Analyst Relations Program Manager is the actual title, and I think it reflects accurately what I do every day. Let me break this into two parts. 1) Analyst Relations: No matter how negative current feelings are towards a particular analyst it really is our job to maintain that relationship. Just because we don’t agree with or don’t like a particular analyst’s opinion, it should never mean we stop talking. Maintaining that open line of communication is probably the single most important thing I do for IBM. 2) Program Manager: although a lot of the time it feels like I am herding cats, I really am responsible to bringing to market a particular program, a particular set of deliverables. I need to manage my internal constituents as much as my external ones

How do you describe what you do?

You know when you are sitting around the table at Thanksgiving and you get asked, “So what is it exactly you do?” I have come to the realization that it is pretty hard to describe what I do without getting a blank “deer in the headlights” type of stare. I usually boil it down to this, “I work for IBM Software Group in their communications department. I do something similar to PR, but I work primarily with Industry Analysts. You know, Forrester, Gartner, IDC… I try to make sure they understand our offerings so as to positively influence their research. If they don’t agree with our viewpoint, then I try to uncover why. If it is a matter of them not knowing about or understanding the functionality of a particular offering (which is usually the case), I educate them.” After explaining this to a friend of mine who teaches at a private school in Rhode Island, his response was, “so it sounds like you are kind of like Tony Soprano but for software” I guess he is kind of right, just without Pauley Walnuts to back me up.

What are good things about your job?

The single best thing about my job is having the chance to work with some of the smartest people in the world. Just last month I had a briefing with and analyst firm on Embedded Systems Development and had D.E. Murray Cantor as my IBM’s spokesperson. He was discussing some of the work we did on missile guidance systems for Raytheon and some of the projects we are working on with BMW. It was absolutely amazing. Everyone in the room was captivated for 2 ½ hours straight. It made me feel very proud to work for IBM and to have the opportunity to interact with these types of folks. It’s what gets me up in the morning.

What are things you would change?

The internal bureaucracy and politicking wears you down a bit. But what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger or something like that.

Name a funny analyst story.

There are no funny analyst stories 😉

Describe an analyst win situation for you.

There are very few instances when I can walk away from a single situation and say, “that was a huge win.” It is really an iterative process. Small steps forward sprinkled with a few back eventually get you where you need to be. I think the easiest most recognizable “analyst wins” happen without direct communication with the analysts. When a report or reference is used by our sales team to help close a deal – that is when I feel I have a big win. That doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of time and effort to chip away at that boulder.

Describe an analyst disaster for you.

I worked for Forrester Research for 4 years before coming to IBM. While I was there I was working with IBM to set up an analyst consult for a very senior software executive and some of our software analysts. The AR manager and I were in communication daily before-hand and had a few prep calls to nail down the agenda. When we finally got everyone in the same room, it quickly became evident that things were not going as we had expected. We had not set the same expectations with the exec or with the analysts. One side was looking for a strategy discussion while the other was knee deep in features and functionality. It taught me a very valuable lesson: communicate early and often DIRECTLY with ALL parties involved. It sounds simple, but with travel schedules and booked calendars getting two parties on the same playing field is an easy thing to mess up. Communicate, communicate and over communicate.

What would you like the analyst’s to do differently, suggestions of what would help both sides maybe?

One firm is very good at publishing its list of research that they are working on 12 months out which is hugely helpful in planning, determining roles, and carving out responsibilities. It is really a shame that more firms don’t do this.

Arrrr, Avast me Hearties, it be talk like a Pirate Day

Ahoy Maties, September 19 be talk like a pirate day. Be ye arrr, a liver lillied land lubber, or the scurvy of the sea, today’s yer day.

Arrr, as another pirate, named after ye ole food line, Jimmy Buffet lamented, me occupational hazard is me occupation’s just not around. Arrr, it be 200 years since pirates sailed the seven seas.

So, be off to yer office with ya then. Grab a yard arm and beat yer obnoxious cellmate in the next cubicle. Revolt and keel haul the scum that be tormenting the office.

Shiver me timbers, it be yo ho ho and a bottle of rum, 15 men on a dead man’s chest. Find yer buried treasure in ye old pile of paperwork.

If any of these mild pirate duties be too much for yer yellow belly, or ya thinks ya might be fired fer carrying on in the office, at least ya can talk like a pirate…


What I was going to blog about today, only to get messed up

I had planned on blogging today about the IBM/RedHat Emerging Markets announcement today Businessweek , but that’s gonna get covered in the press. Move on from that one.

As I was reading the news, I saw this comment, Oracle “continues to fail, will continue to fail, and we’re going to help them in every way we can,” Bill McDermott, chief executive of SAP’s North American unit. I was thinking, here’s a potential rant. How the heck does he know whether it will fail or not? Is he a blowhard? Is he a good soapboxer? Is he looking for some spotlight? Actually, it reminds me a lot of political speech where you can call your opponent a collie molester and then he/she has to defend that they don’t molest collies while digging a huge hole.

So now I’m up to two subjects and I’m debating two blogs or a catch all for news today. Or I could just link to them via

Here’s where my day went bad. My pal Jblog , writes today about how google blog search is and that he found his own blog.

Ok, I’m hooked, I googled my own blog and found four other blogs with the same name as mine. I’ll save myself the trouble of linking to them, you can play with Google Blog Search.

I thought I had sort of a creative name, only to find out that I’m late to the party once again, without a gift. Some of the other delusions were pretty good reads. I’ve got work to do.

So I rumble a few subjects through my mind to post about during the day to try and be witty, or humorous, or perhaps insightful (don’t worry, one day I will be) and right before I blog, any thoughts of having a original or imaginative name are shot down like I had the Red Baron on my tail.

Well, at least I got some new baits from Manns Bait Company which they’ve asked me to test this weekend. Think I’ll go fishing and stop crying about my blog. By next post, I’ll have decided on a single subject that readers can go away from with a modicum of content.

Dell Hell – the power of blogging

This is not news to real bloggers, but it struck me a couple of ways what it’s like out there.

First, it’s tough to be #1. Dell has been number one for a while in the PC space. It’s tough to get to be #1 at anything, then it’s tough to stay there. Everyone shoots at #1, from football to business to retail. Those shots come in the form of paradigm shifts to sniping. Worst of all, it can come from within….What’s the saying? A house divided against itself can’t stand? Think it goes something like that.

Here’s a paradigm shift. Blogging. Jeff Jarvis BuzzMachine talked about his tech support nightmare with Dell. It then goes all over the blogosphere and Dell has a customer support perception problem. As we know, perception is reality in a lot of cases, so they have support and perception problems to deal with.

To properly navigate the stream of the business world while pleasing your customers is very tricky. Not that customer support took down every company, but I’ll be everyone knows a company they don’t buy from anymore ’cause they made you mad. Customers vote with their money.

Do I think this will take Dell down from their top position? No way. Not on this by itself, but big companies (and number 1’s) have to fight a lot of battles to stay on top, internal and external…real and perceived.

Steve, we've got your Hotel room confirmed, or now I know blogging is fully mainstream

We’re holding a blogging roundtable in NYC with some analysts, interesting IBM’ers and academia. I have the analyst portion. These events are in the realm of cool when you hear what’s being said and people that will be there.

Normally in the course of communications, we confirm with email, voicemail or conversations. This is not possible for one of the analysts who is on the road right now. I’ve left every way I know as to how to reach him, but travel prohibits contact right now.

So I call his colleague (James) in hopes of him contacting Steve first. Then the revelation hits home when James tells me, just put it on your blog, he might read that first.


So blog before email? a new paradigm?

More on Spam

Due to the wonderful invention of automated spam, I’ve set my comment policy to word verification. You get to type in a word that appears, then comments are free as usual. I battled back and forth as to whether this was within blog protocol, and finally decided to give it an experimental try.  It has allowed me to filter out idiots like Catherine Helzerman who weirded out at while working at IBM and finally left. Word has it that she pets cats now after her team called her a traitor.

So once more, an experience in blogging for me. A lot of bloggers have already fought this battle, perhaps you could give me your suggestions as to how you managed this.

iPod phone, part the way there

So Apple has introduced the iPod phone. Well, that’s part of what I want. There’s likely a lot of sales there if u look at what’s attached to the ears of the teens/20’s/30’s crowd, but we need more and I don’t think I’m alone.

Here’s my list. I want a device that’s a phone, a camera, wireless+bluetooth, iPod, email, im, handles video podcasts, voice input cause i hate watching drivers thumbtype while driving, oh btw – I want thumb typing too, push to talk capability, minimum of 100 gb of storage, has a docking port of some kind to be able to use a monitor/keyboard/mouse….and I want it in the size of a phone.

I know it exists in the research labs of some phone or computer company somewhere, but this is the I want it now times, so why not now? Using step technology to get one (usually minor) upgrade is not that useful.

Did I miss any capabilities that makes this worthwhile?

The Maturing of the Partner Program

Back in 1999 when IBM decided to take on the partner programs, it primarily focused on our Strategic Alliances, the big companies. This was a good move as it got the program off the ground and generated revenue. Most Strategic Alliances have a services practice around them. Many times, IBM has a bigger service practice than the company that is our partner.

Nowhere in that paragraph was anything but Enterprise scale companies for the most part. Yes, there are many companies that have SMB applications, but by in large, it was Enterprise focused. From nowhere to a very successful partner program in a very short time.

At the same time, the developer program started, but it quietly perked along as most of the press in this area came from Redmond.

A shift in strategy started driving this down to smaller companies and at least into the M of SMB to start. developerWorks expanded into the universities and leveraged IBM research through alphaWorks. Again, very quietly.  Part of moving quietly is to not let IBM headquarters know what you are doing or nothing will ever get done.  We’re successful and building a good program.  The best way to get results at IBM is to not let them know what you are doing until afterwards, then share the results and the glory.

The big shift in strategy came with the PartnerWorld for Industry Networks a couple of years ago. Prior to this, we were sailing along with generally accepted partnering practices, both internal and external. The purchase of Price Waterhouse Coopers consulting practice made this all possible now (BCS). With this, IBM realized that customers buying habits are industry focused and there are a lot of ISV’s that have a specialty, just waiting for an industry program to come along.

Not that our partner programs weren’t a leader, it was everyone playing by the same rules. It was like Captain Kirk who changed the rules in the Kobayashi Maru to win or later to cheat death, IBM now went to market with partners in a significantly different way than the competition.

If being copied is the sincerest form of flattery, we’re being flattered. I’ve noticed many of our competitors partner programs now have an industry flavor, albeit window(s) dressing in some cases.

Back to SMB, the M and the S are now in play for us. No one is going to claim that we dominate the S space, but we’re there and growing.

Our developer program is now kicking into high gear. The key is skills and skills development. We are cultivating the open standards/systems skill sets in the colleges and universities around the world. Companies are implementing LAMP standard applications/software and need folks that can make it happen. We’re helping to cultivate this. developerWorks now cross-pollinates with the Rational tools for developers, another arrow in the quiver. Count Glucode as another arrow.

Some say that a change in big companies is like turning an aircraft carrier, a big process. But after the turn, your face into the wind and ready to launch your aircraft for attack or defense.

Live long and prosper.

Hurricane preparation List

Everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else about cleaning up the mess from Katrina. Who’s helping who and whom, who is not helping. I don’t think that’s accomplishing much when there are folks hurting.

I was in deep thought yesterday while mowing the lawn and the whole issue of depending on the government to fix this rolled around in my head. Take your own side to that story from here, my main thought was what did people do before FEMA? We sure as heck had hurricanes, and we seemed to survive and recover back then…

Well, I never finished that thought as it was interrupted by this list on Hurricane preparation list I knew I had saved. I decided that being prepared was a good start. It’s a good list of things to have ready. Hope it helps someone someday.

Credit to Marshall Loeb for this:

Preparing a home-evacuation checklist
By Marshall Loeb, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Let’s hope you never have to flee your home, as thousands along the Gulf Coast were forced to do in order to escape the recent devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

But whether you are vulnerable to hurricane, wildfire, flood, earthquake or some other catastrophe, you should prepare a home-evacuation plan in case of natural disaster.
The American Red Cross recommends that evacuees bring the following items:
Prescription medications
Bottled water
Basic medical supplies or a first aid kit
A change of clothes
Bedding, including sleeping bags and pillows
Nonperishable food and a hand-operated can opener
Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
Car keys and maps

Prepare a file or box of important personal and financial information to take with you. Gather copies of:
Social Security cards
Copies of your identification cards such driver’s license, green card or passport
Birth certificates
Bank-account records
Marriage certificates and divorce decrees
Titles, deeds or registrations for property and vehicles
Mortgage and other loan information
Insurance policies
Investment records
Credit-card statements
Income-tax information (copies of past returns, proof of estimated tax payments)

Get a list of phone numbers, mail and e-mail addresses for important contacts, including:
Banks and other financial institutions
Insurance agents
Power, light, gas and other utility companies
Relatives, close friends and other emergency contacts

Also include instructions on how to turn off your home’s utilities. Doing so before you evacuate can help prevent further damage to your home.

How long does a blog take to get around?

Well, it looks like from 1 to 22 days according to responses I have.

Yesterday, I was paid the (maybe not so) ultimate expression of existence, I’m now being spammed.

On the first day, the guy I named my blog after, Joe Trippi commented on my blog. That seemed a whole lot more genuine.

I took a calculated risk by being the first IBM blogger, but it affords me the luxury of doing what I want since no one else here has a clue, especially corporate communications who thinks the world revolves around major media and not much else matters.  They lose their mind when the ever declining NY Times so much as picks their nose.  This works for me as I don’t have to deal with those losers (both parties above) and get to do work that they don’t realize is going on as they don’t have a clue what a blog is (unless they ask me).

What I know and they don’t is that social media is the way influential people want to communicate.  They are inundated by emails, telephone calls and the corporate flacks like the above mentioned.

I guess I’m now in the beginning of being in the masses of the blogosphere. Maybe I give myself too much credit, accept my apologies if that is the case.

In my title, I said I’d talk about my escapades of being a blogger, there you have it, a new target for spam.

An American in Paris?

Not really Paris, but Magny-Cours and a lot of other places Formula 1 visits.

For the first time since 1983, an American, Scott Speed is in what some call the most prestigious series in racing. I’m a huge F1 fan for any number of reasons. First of all, I love auto racing. Combine that with my love of technology and you see how Formula 1 fits in. These cars are the most sophisticated machinery you can drive. A lot of technology that is on our cars comes from the cutting edge development you find in F1. They’re more like computers on wheels. To give an example, the average car rev’s at around 3000-6000 RPM. F1 cars race at 19.000 RPM, staggering.

What else I like is that it’s international. I love America as much as (and much more than) a lot of folks and am proud to say so. But I’ve traveled and know that the world has a lot to offer, and I appreciate and enjoy most other countries. Formula 1 is on most continents from Asia to Europe to the America’s. There are fans rabid for their drivers, cars and sponsors from each country.

So it’s great to have an American complete the international equation, a home team for me. The closest I’ve had until now is Juan Pablo Montoya from Columbia who lives in the states. I’ll still pull for Juan Pablo also.

Speed (what a great name for a driver) will race for Red Bull , formerly the Jaguar F1 Team.

There have been 2 American F1 champions, Phil Hill in 1961 for Ferrari and Mario Andretti in 1978 for Lotus. Hey, there were no Americans winning the Tour de France either until Greg Lemond. Then it inspired some guy from Texas to lead 5 Americans in the top 17 in this year’s TDF while he was capturing his 7th straight tour.

Could it be the same in F1?

Boxer Rebellion

No, its not what you think.

I work at home, and I have a dog. She’s pretty much a lump most of the day, except of course when an analyst calls, at which point phantom bad guys appear outside of the door. This happens like clockwork destroying any sense of professionalism I try to have when speaking on the phone. She then loses her mind and barks like someone is trying to steal our house.

Top of the list in terms of barking veracity are the Fed-Ex/UPS delivery guys. She can hear these trucks leaving the loading dock 100 miles away, and knows when they are going to drive on our street. Next are sirens, which is funny as she stands on her hind legs and howls like a wolf, I still chuckle. Then there are the “garbage stealers” who come once a week and take our valuable discards along with the neighbor’s trash. Finally, the kids come home from school happy as clams about mid afternoon and yell and scream. This is good for a maintenance bark or two, nothing like UPS.

How do animals have this kind of timing? I dunno, it’s like kids who can embarrass you at the most inappropriate times with the things the can say.

I’ve had pets all my life….dogs, cats, fish, frogs and some other gross/slimey creatures I found on the way home from school. I love my dog, even if she doesn’t have the best sense of timing. I have an aquarium full of fish, they don’t make as much noise when I get phone calls, but then they don’t love me back or lick my face as much as my dog.

Blogging at IBM, a snowball rolling down hill

This time last year, we put up the developerWorks blog as the first external IBM blog site. It was a small snowball barely dropped from the top of Mount IBM.  It turns out be an end around being able to blog at IBM who now want to establish a company wide policy that will smother and restrict effective blogging communications.  Fortunately, IBM Corporate Comm’s is clueless and so behind the times and we were able to put this site up under their noses without much effort.  Since we did it without asking, it now can’t be taken down as too many people look to this site for blogs.  Many people are trying to get on to it so for now, we control the outbound blog content unlike comm’s department in Armonk which moves at the speed of smell.

Armonk communications is a bubble that can’t see past New York, led by a hot head who ran Ed Koch’s liberal political campaign.  Their lack of vision is the bane of much of the sterile communications that you read about when IBM is discussed.  While they see it as a well oiled machine, the rest of the comm’s team who actually does all the work, know that they are a ball and chain that has to be worked around to get anything done.  The developerWorks blog site is a prime example of how to work around people such as those in Armonk.

It’s funny, almost like the tail wagging the dog, as we are doing what we want, whenever we want, while the rest of every word written from IBM goes under the microscope at the home office, effectively removing any creativity or actual information that might be helpful.  If you don’t believe it, read a press release.  It is quite enjoyable to usurp the Stalin like control that they try to impose on everyone else, and act like a regular company who understands how to deal with the media.

I decided to list my blog there as I was the first official blogger for IBM analyst relations and have set many of the policies up until now, including starting and running blogging for IBM A/R.  When the corporate communications machine finds a way to destroy the effectiveness through obsessive guidelines overseen by people who have never written or likely read a blog, any control I currently have will diminish.  They are so paranoid from the monopoly trial that they manage to put effective PR into the stone ages. Fortunately, they are so obsessed with the media right now, the most effective communications program is on the analyst side as they don’t understand what it is.  Anytime they try to interfere, they treat A/R like pr and look silly.

At that point, my blog may or may not be on the corporate site depending on the rules and guidelines. Since I don’t care what they say (and best of all am not in NY, which the powers that be can’t see beyond) and have learned to be more creative about communicating through social media than they have, I’ll make that decision as needed on my terms.  I’ll likely then be on new social media platforms that are industry wide so it won’t be tough to stay ahead of them while keeping current with the rest of the world.  Since they move so slowly for fear of actually stepping out into the real world, I won’t have to worry about it for a while.

With prodding from the outside (thanks to the analyst community) and many unconnected but interesting bloggers, we got the fever. Now there is the internal blog with thousands of bloggers going at it (another IBM communication killer since the audience is IBM’ers), a mainframe blog, gamers and worst of all attention on this from the top.

What I see is momentum for blogging that started as grass-roots inertia (bottom up, not the usual top down) which I believe is best (ask RIM or Palm). Sure, we were a bit later than some companies, but it won’t be that long for us to catch up. Fortunately, I started my blog and put up the developerWorks site like we did and that is how it will be done.  All we need is a few rock stars to start writing.

Now the blog plan is prominent in the outreach plans for new products and announcements.  Normal companies do this and since I came from the outside where I honed my skills staying ahead of companies like IBM, it is important to connect on terms with the audience that are mutually agreeable and most effective.  I knew that I’d already won and would get the message of the company I represented if there were IBM communicaitons people in the room.  Sure, they were the 800 lb. gorrilla in the room, but as soon as I got time with the media or analysts, they were far more likely to work with me as A) I wasnt’ trying to write their story and B) I actually was working in the 20th or 21st century.  I’ll bet those same comm’s folks were hell with tabulation machines and IBM 360’s.

So it’s more like cells dividing, people from all over the world in IBM are jumping on this as they should. Many of the execs who are the busiest people in the world are blogging Buell Duncan and IWB.

I’ve watched trends for a while at IBM, lots of hype at first, then some catch on or fizzle out, but this one has legs…the snowball is now big, and for now the only blog site at IBM until the wonks in IBM corporate communications figure out how to sterilize this also.  The fact that I can write this clearly shows that they have no clue about social media at this point, nor do they move faster than cold honey.

If you’re reading this, you likely had something to do with IBM blogging brought to you by developerWorks. Thanks.  We offer more information on a timely basis that is more meaningful than you’d ever find from the wonks in Armonk.

Back to IBM, creative vacation scheduling

As we come to the Labor Day break (at least here in the States) it’s time for some to take time off. So, I though I’d comment on it to lighten up from the news of the world.

I’ve worked here for a number of years, more now than any other company, but it’s still the 8th company I’ve been employed by. In no other company has the scheduling of vacation been as creative as here. I’ve observed a number of trends.

First, let’s note that you start with 3 weeks vacation. My first job entitled me to 1, so it was precious to me. I had to plan to get the most out of it a broke new hire could get. The old schoolers here get European quantity time for vacation, so there is lots to play with.

The first trend I’ll call the “creative” schedulers. They always save their time by working around a holiday to “save days”. It’s a pretty good scheme. One can extend the time you have by adding the public holidays to your time off.

The other side of the coin I’ll call the “avoiders”. They purposely work while the “creatives” are off. This way the miss the creatives both coming and going. To them, it’s like getting 2 vacations even though one of them is taken at the office. Not that they goof off, they just get to avoid either people or craziness, and seem to enjoy it. I’ll give you an example, things slow down before a public holiday and it can take time to crank up right after, so the workload can be less. Conversely, let me point out that with fewer people in the office, if the brown hits the fan, guess who has to cover and let the scrambling begin.

The next category is the “travelers”. This one is not unique to any company or country. It’s what it sounds like, tacking vacation on to a business trip to enjoy a place you might not travel too. Let’s see, if you take time off with a business trip, over a public holiday it’s a twofer. Take your family and it’s really a good deal.

Then there are the “Fridays”. These are the folks that will take every Friday of say August or December off and work 4 day weeks for a month, guess they aren’t making plans to travel overseas that year. Tough to do in 3 days and see anything.

So pick you strategy and enjoy. For those that work hard, time off is good to recharge the batteries.

Finally, over the course of my employment at various companies, I’ve observed some that are like Wally in Dilbert. They are mostly on vacation whether at work or away. Ever worked with one of those?

The faces of humanity

I was going to call it the 2 faces of humanity, just thinking of what the folks in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are going through bringing out the good and bad in some, but it occurred to me that there are many flavors of this subject. But for this post, I’ll concentrate on the simple good and bad.

What is happening in those states is devastating. I can only mildly relate as we’ve had some bad hurricanes here (Fran comes to mind in NC where some are still recovering) and a recent ice storm where we were out of power for a week, but it is bad there. My sister lives near Lake Ponchartrain and has likely lost her house. Her family got out in time and are living with my parents right now, lucky them. It’s not the same for those who have lost lives, jobs, family and other things like heirlooms and photo’s which are forever gone.

These catastrophe’s bring out the good in some folks. Already there are local fisherman driving around in bass boats rescuing people from their houses. There are organizations which are gathering supplies, people lining up to donate time and money to help. I read this morning where you can donate like the Red Cross , Samaritens Purse, and other good groups who are sincere in helping out. FEMA is organizing for the biggest relief effort ever. For those that get my feed via RSS, I’ll be visiting today to add them to my list.

Then there is the other side. I’ve seen reports of looters, the construction scammers, insurance fraud and many others. This is also unfortunately something that raises it’s ugly head during these times. I hope that this is kept in check.

Then the way we can act hit me. Through the power of DVR (i was scanning and deleting shows), I happened to watch back to back the hurricane coverage then the reality show, “filthy rich cattle drive” where the spoiled brat kids of celebrity’s are “roughing” it on a cattle drive. This is like going to a zoo to watch animals. These kids are the most narcissistic people I’ve ever seen, worried about how they look, trying to get make up, dry cleaning and Fed Ex in the middle of nowhere and me, me, me. This was supposed to be about helping a charity.  One of them of course was Kim Kardashian.

It’s just to ironic that these two faces of humanity are happening at the same time.

Natural disasters have been happening since the creation of the earth. There was the tsunami last year for example. Fortunately, people have stepped up and helped others through the course of history and I hope and pray it happens here.

A lesson that strikes me (besides the obvious of striving to be good) is to be prepared and to be able to take care of yourself in the many situations life will present to you. Acts of God like this (even for skeptics, this is the clause in your homeowners insurance) will continue, so dealing with it is inevitable. Being ready in anything is half the battle sometimes. Appreciate your family, friends and experiences in life. It’s times like this that remind you how important and fleeting they can be.

So it’s off to my now seemingly trivial day when compared to those now trying to put their lives back together.

Update on Sis: just heard from her and the house made it, but she won’t be able to go back for months. Thanks to those folks who sent regards.