Star Trekking. . .

STAR TREK

Yes, another fabulous chapter in Star Trek history has hit the theaters.  Hollywood has done a superb job of story telling and inspiration for the young and old alike.  It’s a must see.

The first thing that struck me was why Jim T. Kirk leaves his home of Iowa to join the Federation.  Here’s something for corporate America to think about.  Why does any young person want to work for a company?  Why should young people lock themselves to $20K to $40K a year worth of schooling for 4 to 8 years?  So much of culture today has been focused on “me” and “my career” and so much of corporations have given up on the “parental” model and are expecting young people to seek them out for a just get ahead for “my” career.  After all, “it’s all about me!”

Well stand back because Mr. Kirk leaves his “me” life because he catches some small glimpse of something bigger than himself.  He’s swept away by a dream.  Well yeah, he really doesn’t know much about where he’s going or what he’ll become but the emotion of finding something worthy to step up to is strongly projected and the emotion is elevating.  All you leaders out there i hope will think long and hard about creating something that draws people out of the “me” world into a world of making a better world for future generations.  I’ve never been privileged to going the armed forces of the U.S. but that is something armies do, they call upon people to think about others and big ideas like freedom, helping others and making the world a safer place to live.  I don’t see enough if this inspirational leadership happening in the work a day world.  We’re afraid to even speak to people about having beliefs such as this, it sounds too soft, too touchy-feelie.  Huh!  Wrong!

Friendship is another theme highlighted in the 2009 Star Trek movie.  It’s refreshing to hear Spock declare his unending ideal of being a forever friend of James T. Kirk.  Sorry, but for me you can have money, a friend that is true is a priceless thing in today’s world is it not?  It reminds me of how I’ve committed myself to be faiithful to others and that others can count on me at all times.  We live in a very frighenting world, where people have come to a place we almost don’t know whom to trust.  It makes us cold.  I happened to travel through the airport this past weekend end and met a man flying here from Sweden.  He was coming as his Mother-in-Law’s house had burned to the ground this past week.  Of  course, I was quite empathetic to this person and even socially helpful, but what struck me later thta evening was why had I not said to him, “here’s my telephone number, if you need someone to ask a question, please call me”.  I failed on that point.  O.k. I must remember to be a friend in today’s world, even if it means I may get hurt, as there is nothing as worthy as being a friend who cares about others.  I hope others will want to be faithful friends to me as well.

I could go on and on, but will keep this short in the interest of not overloading my reader.  A third idea about his movie is just that it has a strong ability to provoke emotions that we’re all familiar with and respect.  We all face tremendous fear, we all face situations that could cause us to hate another and some of us will know the challenge to let go of dear things because we want others to get a chance at life and liberty.  This movie has all of these tremendous values flowing through it.  This to me is keenly important, as a bit of Sci-Fi is surreal these days.  How can I identify with a person who can fly and can pound aliens into the ground?  That’s not exactly me, but when a story can help me see how I could also live my life in a manner that helps others, then I have found a high value.  I know for some again this sounds mushey, but stop and just measure this on the value that stories are like great art.  They make us emote or identify with some special beauty that is beyond ourselves.  They reflect on something or somewhere we’d like to be or not be.  This is great art and Star Trek 2009 is a great movie.

He who slings mud, loses ground. . .

162917-apple_vs_microsoft_original

So Microsoft is feeling the need to put Apple down these days?  My, my Apple is so blessed to get so much press for so few dollars!  You need to ask yourself why Microsoft is feeling the urge these days to attack Apple.  It certainly isn’t because they are a small software company is it?  No it seems market share of Micrsoft is starting down the path of shrinking ever so slightly.  Even with the millions of PCs out there in the market and the need to expand cheap PCs around the world (who would have ever thought a laptop computer would be selling for $300 to 400?), the Windows market seems to have reached a maximum capacity of sorts.

I’d submit to you a few thoughts that has to be weighing on Microsoft’s mind.  One, the operating system for a PC is just become a huge battleship sitting on the landscape of a PC.  This isn’t really a new thought as how many industry analyst’s or PC gurus regularly complain about the MS OS?  This past year I’ve played a lot with Ubuntu Linux, and though I’m not a super geek, it’s just amazing to me, to see my laptop zip along like a Ferrari while running Linux.  Have you noticed the Walmart, Target mini laptops all run under Linux?  Well how would one sell a computer for $300 and think they could put a $200 OS on the computer?  I have a need for speed, and frankly Microsoft Operating System doesn’t have it.  If my computer would not hiberanate, I think I’d be ready to throw out Microsoft all together.  Why should I have to wait 3 to 5 minutes while my laptop loads all the junk it wants to have when the computer is fully up?  Here in the U.S. how did the Toyotas, Hondas and Hyundais catch so much of the market?  Yeah the basically said to the American market, big, gas-guzzling, and poor running (maintenance) is not the game.  Will the software industry learn this lesson and apply it?

Lastly, I’m of the opinion that Apple has Microsoft just plain scared.  The most pervasive device in the world is the cell phone and Apple is not only storming the market and already sitting at position number 2, but their product is a full blown computer and continues to morph every 6 months, into something bigger and better.  Consider just three points, 1) they are in 80 countries of the world, o.k. MS is in a lot more; 2) they are approached 1 billion doownloads of software at their app store, o.k. this is not apples and oranges (no pun intended), but it means something is very successful and powerful and 3) their operating system is exploding, I’m mean when a 9 year old can develop a piece of software for the App Store, when has Microsoft done any such accomplishment.  (I don’t doubt there are some 9 year olds who have programmed some small MS application, but does it have world presence in 80 countries of the world).  Yeah, you get my point eh?

Oh well, sorry to rant on today, I just think He Who Slings Mud, Loses Ground.  Let’s get on with MS and reinvent yourself, now!  Blabbering and beating others won’t get you anywhere.

IPhone and OS 3.0

(This post is a copy of my IBM internal blog entry)


How many have watched the 1 hour and 20 minute release of Apple’s OS 3.0?

I’m not going to do a recap here of all the amazing things Apple announced for the IPhone, rather I want to discuss how their strategy and innovation speaks so loudly.

A core section of the presentation after announcing that their OS will have some 1,000 new APIs, new application purchase methods and new hardware opportunities (add-ons) was to have 5 or 6 key vendors display future ideas for their own products using the new operating system.

This means of course that Apple gets an A+ on collaboration (even if other important voices are missing from the presentation).  What a punch to have Oracle show how they will take the new OS and deliver new ways to remotely speed support for a corporation’s interaction with their customers, or how ESPN will be enabled to deliver new superior on demand programming / alerts for their customers.  This is savvy marketing at it’s prime.  Apple had released the OS to a handful of major players and told them, “go see what you can do with the new OS”.  The speaker then relays how amazed Apple was by what their creative partners had to show in such a short turn around.

Apple next not only demonstrates how easy it is to become a developer for the IPhone, ITouch, they reveal key details of how they work with developers.  Things like, the period of time it takes to get a new application approved (about 7 days on average), how developers are paid (monthly, electronically) and to boot they bring on a wannebe programmer that took his idea for a game (Trism) and tell his personal story of success.  This is almost a Cinderella story or a repeat of the guys who built Apple in their garage, only in much shorter time frame.  I mean ask yourself, how would you as developer like to be able to put your product out in 80 countries of the world?  Most developers would be lucky to even be known in the town where they live, let alone around the world.

Yeah, it’s the idea of empowerment in this presentation that is like a drug of joy.  Who would have ever dream that Wikipedia would receive so much world wide acceptance and harness the power of so much enthusiasm that people would sit at their terminals / computers / laptops and literally donate hundreds of hours to something they don’t personally own?  The introduction of OS 3.0 sends a very clear message to anyone interested in development, that not only is there opportunity, but we (Apple) are here to guide, open huge doors and enable (propel) you forward.

This is absolutely a phenominal strategy.  I’ve owned MS Mobile phones for 5 plus years and one has to say there is no comparison, oh yeah, maybe on the level of an actual application one can say, the MS Mobile application is superior to the current one on Apple IPhone, but tell me where is the army of people that are so pumped as the people developing IPhone applications.  Has anyone seen Seattle announce that they are there to help you become a successful developer?

One last kudo and I get off my soapbox of praise…..one has to also take in that OS 3.0 represents a convergence of really hot ideas.  Here are some those key items:  “the network is everthing”  It’s unthinkable that on MS Mobile that I should have to go to setup to move from 3G to my personal network.  The idea that the IPhone is always connected by switching seamlessly rocks!  And 3.0 ups the whole thing a notch as one of the new features will remember your commercial logons, so now when I walk into Starbucks, there is no playing with the phone to join the network.  Once I’ve done it once, I’m on for good.   (well at least those that have homegenous networks)  Meebo will deliver a native version of Meebo on the new OS 3.0…so IPhone links me to the wave of Social Networking and keeps me on the wave while away from my desktop.  Another is OS 3.0 will use Bluetooth to assist me seemlessy network with others in my vicinity.  So now I can sit with a bunch of friends in a room and be connected with all of them sans any network.  This was demoed in 2 or 3 different ways in the presentation.  There’s more, but you’ll have to watch for yourself, eh?

I’m old enough to remember how the first release of Visacalc, you know this stuff was only being done on mini-computers with a full application, and suddenly anyone with a PC could be a wizard of super business analytics.  This single app was reponsible for many a sale of a PC.  I get the same vibes with OS 3.0.  I get a very positive feeling about a company that breaks into brand new ground, or pulls together something NEW.  I’m alas proud to be a part of a company that has so many discoveries in a single year (patents)  Could it be that is why IBM is a well known word around the world?

Can we grab any of the learning from Apple’s announcement of OS 3.0?  Watch here!

Kindle me in. . .

Yep, another superb offering on the IPhone, is the Amazon software that allows one to purchase the files used for Kindle on one’s IPhone.  You simply go to Apple ITunes Apps, load the software, log into the App on your IPhone and enter your Amazon account id and password; next you go to Amazon and look for a desired book that is available in Kindle format, and since you setup the App, now appearing on your browser screen is the widget saying, “Send to my IPhone”.  Once you push a selection out from Amazon, the next time you launch the App on your IPhone, the book simply downloads into the IPhone.

Well, I must say once you have the book, there is some very natural about using this program on your IPhone, as you read a page of the book, and with a finger turn the page by swiping across the screen.  It is so natural and enjoyable that I already have my first book and am reading away.  This is very sweet technology.

O.k. Amazon, you want more sales?  All those folks with Sony readers are waiting with baited breath to join this club.  They know that Amazon is the place to buy these books, eh?  They just need someone to make it possible for their brand as well.  Loving it Amazon.  Love my IPhone!

Are we living in the Bermuda Triangle?

Our triangle?
Our triangle?

We’ve all heard about the mysterious trap known as the Bermuda Triangle, haven’t we?

I’m musing today on how we landlubbers find ourselves too in a Bermuda Triangle.

EXPECTATIONS

People traversing through the Bermuda Triangle did so as they had a strong desire to achieve something.  I live in a world of execution as there has been an agreement to a goal.  Someone was sold a solution.  There is a lot of new thinking these days on the need to revisit our customer post-sale to determine if the expectation is being realized.  This in another way is not so new is it as most projects have incremental acceptance agreements, wherein a team goes over a particular deliverable and tests whether or not the conception has been realized and whether or not it has met all the criteria put down in a blueprint.  The shocking or the disturbing point here is that in some cases the overall expectations were not captured and now there are unrealized expectations still afloat.  This is definitely a bad experience and frustrating to have to resolve and address.

Two key traps I’m familiar with due to painful experiences are 1) looking at something and saying, “that’s what I want” and 2) making a decision solely based on price.  The first item mentioned above is not a bad thing, we all need to articulate, this is what I want, the error here is rushing to obtain something without thoroughly examining the details surrounding what we’ve set our expectations upon.  I recall a famous minister talking about how he wanted to buy his children a swingset, that is until he read the directions which terrified him.  No it was not putting the swingset together, it was the rigorous maintenance schedule to be followed post-build to ensure his precious family was safe at all times.  (seems some dear manufacturer wanted to avoid a legal altercation, so they’d laid out very heavy requirements for their product)  This means that whenever we look at something we want and need we have a lot more homework to do to determine how this solution will address and fit into our overall abilities to achieve our goals.  Second if we don’t do all the necessary homework, we’re headed into other traps like focusing solely on price and here we sell ourselves short don’t we?  How many of us bought the new living room couch because it was just such a good price, so comfortable, only to realize post delivery, that the carpet doesn’t quite match, the curtain clash with this, and yeah, you get my frustration here don’t you?  This goes back to root of capturing our expectations more and harmonizing them with other factors present in the overall picture.  A third complexity is how we set dates for things.  We all know that we need a completion date don’t we?  Again though how we set a date for a completion can make us or break us.  I won’t explore that fully here my point, but the key item here is gathering the full details of the original expecation including costs, work efforts, goals, and on-going support of a solution, lest we jump in early and find ourselves in the Bermuda Triangle with no hope of escape.

SILENCE

Life is full of “pot-holes” and one of them is silence.  Hey, I’m not putting down time of reflection or rest here, I’m talking about the fact things go unspoken.  We go on week after week, month after month, and fail to communicate key information to others.  There are a legion of reasons silence pervade our business, homes and relationships, I can’t begin to explore these all, or this will turn from a blog to book.  This is also an oxymoron is it not?  I mean aren’t we living in the era of openness?  One has to only turn on the TV to hear the most intimate details of why, what, and how on any subject.  We now have Instant Messaging, Telepresence, the Inside Inventigation, and yet we have major failures in communication don’t we?  The person traveling through the Bermuda Triangle became silent, out of touch with the rest of the world, and they were ulimatey lost.  Do we find ourselves in the same place today?  I was recently asked, “why do you think people in this company are afraid to express themselves?”  Ouch!  Here we are in the post-modern age, we have more scientific knowledge than one can imagine, and yet we are out of touch, out of communication because people are silent.  Yes, people are afraid, people are talking but about all the wrong things.  Just because we have volumes on a subject doesn’t mean we’ve hit the core, the “ah-ha”.  Silence will keep us living in the dark ages, but than again how do focus into the heart and realize the core?

DIRECTION

People who entered the Bermuda Triangle, were set on a direction.  Here I don’t want to discuss the merits of setting direction, we all know the classic need for setting a common vision, a common goal.  My thought here then is more how we work as multiple entities in a way that is common direction.  Again as a professional I’m asked on a annual basis whether or not my leadership is supporting to direction of my corporation, and am I helping others that work with me to see and realize that direction.  So for me the issue on direction is not that we lack direction, it is this nectare of multiple entities coming to a point of shall we say “dancing together” for lack of better terminology.  There is tremendous push and pull by powerful people in organizations today, and we tend to all look up above us to uncommon folk who have a gift at setting direction, call upon us to follow in that direction, and who if successful articulate that direction in a clear and powerful way.  People who have got lost in the Bermuda Triangle must have internally gone in circles, “should I turn back, should I go left, should I go right” and somewhere along the way because they lost touch with good details that would ground them in knowledge of their position, they ran out of fuel, they made the wrong decision, they were lost for all time.  And yet this example doesn’t show the larger dynamic does it?  How is that we’ll be linked in amrs with others to accomplish great things?  How is that our organization can remain organic and learn to turn on the dime?  How is that we’ll learn to change our thinking and adopt wholly new ways of doing things?  (after all nature is adaptive, and yet we as people seem to defy nature itself, i.e. we remain stuck in our thinking, this is the way things have to be, it’s always been this way, I don’t belive what I’m being told!)  My apologies if I now have you swimming in thought, but I too am a student and trying to put my arms around this same concept of how to bring multiple players together in a common direction.  Please do comment or express yourself here should I have touched a similar thought in your mind.

NextGen?

What's your view?

Wow!

A friend got this picture as an attachment to a question.

I’d read that the new unemployed are using the Internet in a major way, but this picture really does show the shift that has come to our world doesn’t it?

Could be the reason the Minister of Youth at St.  James United Methodist Church, in Tampa, Florida left his position in the church to join a specialized ministry that totally operates on the Internet.

It does say a lot about how important the world of Social Media and our concept of communications is moving to a totally new era.  And to think we’ve only scratched the surface of possibilities in this dimension?  If you don’t think so, just get out there and follow the Web 2.0 people and their conventions.

And to think how many people around the world don’t have computers. . . . .that is just staggering eh?

Makes you wonder too if the Dot.Com business was not an accurate response to a need, (only they missed the true need and just launched SOS – [same old stuff]).

And to think has the corporation harnessed this idea?  How few are working on providing a place for their customers to respond other than by SOS, or how many corporations/corporate leaders see social media as just some hype?  (something to steal processing cycles from my employees)

Let it sink in won’t you?

Another superb movie…

slumdog millionaire

Now here’s a movie that makes sense.  How much “shoot-em’ ups” can we exposed to before we hit overload?  Well, don’t get upset, I love “shoot-em ups” too!  Wow some great stuff coming next month.

What is superb on this picture is that we who live in the comforts of luxury are thrust into the real world of Mumbai.  We meet the most interesting brothers, who are dubbed the “two muskateers” as they were recognized in their community for their special powers to be pranksters.

I was privilege to see this movie on Valentine’s Day, and from that point of view, this is a perfect movie for VD seeing the third muskateer is a young lady, and our hero pursues her with a relentless fever.

This movie for me is 5 star, and I’ll be looking for the sound track at my favorite store as the music has a powerful place in this movie as well.

I just hope for you that you get the chance to see this movie.  This isn’t make-believe movie though one may feel the overall story to be a Cinderella type movie.  The truth is people in India do live in some the worst conditions in the world.  I’m not saying that all Indians live in bad conditions, just that we can find some of the greatest suffering in places like Mumbai, New Dehli and Kolkata.  It should stop us, it should shock us, and it should call us to action.  With the greatest tragedies happening right in our country due to the economic swings, none of our failures will touch the suffering of these people.  For that we should be reminded.

Oh well, off the topic eh?  This is an engaging movie that deserves a place in our lives to reach into our hearts and remind us that love is the most precious commodity in the world, not oil.  In fact, love is not a commodity, it is an exceptional way of life.  Would it be that we learn the lessons of Jamal and his faithfulness to brother and friend, Latika.

The uncluttered look

New Home Page

Less is More!

On advice of the experts in the field, I’ve decided it’s time to leave behind my home page in my browser (bye, bye Yahoo) and embrace the quiet power look of Google.com.  I got this from the ideas posed in a lecture on the seminal work of Vannevar Bush, who wrote an article in June 1945’s Atlantic on how we think, or rather how we need to train our thinking for the future.

This is a short blog as it’s past bedtime and I need to head that way, but wanted to chart my new direction here.  One has to know that Google as well is a very important place for me.  I regularly use News, Gmail and now Tasks.

That all aisde the idea of making Google my home page (other than my corporate page which always comes up in IE), is the need to simplify my space and give me OPEN space to think when I launch my browser.

I’m a firm believer we are too busy with our lives, and we fill our time with mindlessness.  We need to shift our focus through focus, presence and a need to be quiet.  Here’s the link to the Bush article for those that want a fascinating read. Let’s engage our minds!

Post script:  for those not introduced to Bush and his article, Bush is seen as a visionary who saw in 1945 the future as we now are coming to know it.  This article will speak of a machine that has the ability to be a storehouse of knowledge.  Today’s modern Internet users see this as the very first concept of hypertext (the layer of formatting used in Internet pages).  More later. . .

A place to think, share and ponder