PEAK IT – Big Trend in Enterprise Information Technology – IT Trend

Some are saying that the polarization of IT is changing back to one side.  You decide.  Right now I’m digging into this further.

Here is the paragraph to read.

Peak IT occurs in an organization when investments in automation and productivity tools are crowded out by rising operations and management expenses. The result is a downward spiral of increasing complexity and expense and shrinking productivity as expenses continue to increase and take a growing share of budgets.

If you can understand the following paragraph then go directly to the site (via the link) and read the detailed post on “Peak IT”.

Social Media Fallacies – What To Know If You’re Thinking of Social Media

Here is a great post by Jason Baer on the fallacies of social media. Social media is the email marketing of our web 2.0 everyone will do it but how is the question.  I’ve been doing it for years and I agree with this post.  I’ve added some of my comments in { } below.  Thanks Jason for a great post.

1. Social Media is Inexpensive

False. Done correctly, social media – even a simple reputation monitoring program – is a time intensive proposition that requires daily vigilance.

2. Social Media is Fast

False. Social media is by definition slow. Done correctly, social media is about developing meaningful relationships with customers and prospective customers in their natural habitat. You have to create content, be part of many communities, and proceed incrementally. Many successful social media programs take months (or even more than a year) to really germinate.

3. Social Media is “Viral Marketing”

False, in the same way that a square is also a rectangle, but a rectangle isn’t a square. Can a social media program go viral? Absolutely. But if you’re engaged in a social media program in an effort to go “viral” you’re not really engaged in social media at all. You’re engaged in an advertising and marketing campaign that uses the Web as its distribution platform.

{I will agree but add something here to Jason’s post:  the conversation is the advertising campaign and the social result of the conversation if done correctly is the definitive word on the topic – hence an ad-like message or effect}

4. Social Media results can’t be measured

False. Especially in comparison to many other communication programs like traditional PR, TV advertising, outdoor advertising and others, social media actually offers pretty solid metrics.  Can those results be tied back directly to sales, and therefore ROI? Probably not yet, but other than search and email (and maybe banners) where CAN you do that?

{I will add that the metrics are not online and this is the opportunity to bridge both offline and online experiences and benefits to users}

5. Social Media is optional

It doesn’t matter what the demographics of your customers are. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Your customers and prospects are talking about you online. Your company needs to be part of that conversation. Today. Online is where many people do their talking, so that’s where you need to be.

6. Social media is hard

False. It’s not hard, it’s complicated.  It’s about having a strategy for making your company or organization more like a person and less like a machine. It’s about humanization.

If your customers and prospects feel like your company is more human and actually cares about them, they’ll want to be part of it….use technology to be yourself, and don’t overthink it.

Update: Thanks to Ben Smithson for point out the mistake in the title..

Silicon Valley in Trouble? I Don’t Think So – A New Model Will Arrive

Comparing Silicon Valley to Detroit is ridiculous, but Dan Lyons does bring up a big issue worth discussing – innovation problem. Silicon Valley is not setup for long term research in a way that made it what it is today. We are seeing institutional research vaporize in front of our eyes. Checking around it’s apparent that there is very little core and applied research going on. If there is research it is controlled by short term horizons like business profits and venture capital horizons. I’ve said before that we need a new approach.

I posted about this before about a new venture development paradigm that will emerge soon – one based upon open principles and collaboration.

Here is a snip of my post from last year – Silicon Valley – The Rebooting Meritocracy

Silicon Valley is a special place for entrepreneurship, and it continues to be. The issue is not that there is a wrench in the machine, but that the machine is broken. It’s rebooting.

One thing I love about Silicon Valley is that there are no handouts. It’s the ultimate entrepreneurial meritocracy. Change happens and it happens both from the bottom up (entrepreneurs) and the top down (capital market). The question is which force is driving the change.

Redistribution of wealth is upon us. The entrepreneurs and investors that move on this current market opportunity will capture the proverbial “chips on the table”. As an entrepreneur, I love this market. Opportunities are everywhere. Unlike the dot com bust, this tech (entrepreneurial) market never really crashed. Everywhere I look I see discounts and new opportunities. Smart money will move around, but in select places. Is the market scary? If you’re an incumbent it sure is scary.

Silicon Valley Web 2.0 is hurting, but not for the obvious reasons. A bigger force is at play here – massive redistribution of wealth is taking place. Some are scared, and some are welcoming the opportunity of possibly acquiring the wealth “on the table”. I think that Facebook and Twitter are great examples of what might be possible. Facebook will become the next Google. The only thing holding them up is that the ‘new revenue’ model that is soon to arrive at the “station”. When that “train” arrives (and it will) Facebook will say Goodbye to all the naysayers.

Research & Development Void?

The bigger picture is more long term and that’s all about research and development. Judy Estrin recently came out to talk about something really important – the innovation gap. Let me translate her thesis – we are screwed if we don’t have steady research unencumbered by short term agendas. Think how important institutions like Stanford, MIT, and SRI have been to Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship. Without these deep research institutions we would not have many innovations that created wealth – hello Ethernet; hello Apple; hello Cisco; hello Google, ..etc.

The lack of institutional research leaves a void in the Silicon Valley ecosystem. John Markoff postulates in his book “What the Dormouse Said” that the culture and research of the 60s drove the PC revolution. The question now is what revolution are we developing and where is the research? Will we miss the next important energy, medical, or tech breakthrough? Where is our modern day moonshot mandate?

Even top HP executives agree with me.  At HP, the concern reaches the very highest levels of the company. Shane Robison, HP’s chief strategy and technology officer, says he’d like to see the following: a permanent research-and-development tax credit, which would encourage tech companies to do more basic science research, which in turn would benefit everyone, not just the company that conducts the research; more government funding for basic science research; more spending on education; and changes in immigration laws to help foreign-born students who study in the United States to stay in this country afterward. “The technology industry is one of the crown jewels of our country,” Robison says. “It’s the one industry where we stand head and shoulders above the rest of the world. We need to protect that.”

My Version of Yahoo’s Turnaround Plan – Focus on Management Team and New Players

Boomtown has a post speculating that Carol is taking the :bull by the horns” and charging hard to make changes. First up an earnings call that will surely be a bad report.

In the NFL they talk about franchise players. In business and startups they talk about the management team. Here Yahoo has one clear short term goal – GET A TEAM. More importantly get some ‘franchise players’.

There are more than a few great and wacky ideas that Yahoo could do, but if were advising Carol I’d say focus on the management team first. Overhaul that team. Waive all the people not performing, get a great staff, trade for players who want to play for you, and sign some fresh new talent.

Remember Yahoo still has a great revenue stream and a massive user base. Get the management and players then make the big moves.

Kids On Facebook – Facebook Briefs Parents in Palo Alto: Where does Facebook’s Business Model Fit into Protecting our Kids?

NOTE:  Visit the siliconANGLE blog for a community of bloggers on Social Web and Technology Opinion and Analysis.  THANKS

My kids have Facebook accounts and we have a Facebook policy in our house. I guess that you’d put me in the camp of “parents for Facebook”. As a new and avid user of Facebook and someone keenly interested in social science and child development, I attended a Facebook meeting last night with parents in Palo Alto with great interest.

Every social media network is searching for the best method to create large audience leading to large amounts of advertising revenue. With over 200 million users and increased R&D budget to develop 35 new foreign language interfaces….I would say that Facebook’s goals are clear … to increase the social graph as quickly and dramatically as possible. It is working. 70% of Facebook’s users are outside of the US. Every day new members are added. Friends of friends become friends of friends…and so on and so on. Facebook is our children’s present social communication culture. Bravo to Facebook.

How many of those “friends of friends” do you want your child interfacing with…regularly, publicly & not in the real world? Being the inquisitive parent I am, I attended a local high school Parent Ed meeting last night.

The event l was billed as an event to increase your knowledge of your kids’ cyber culture on Facebook. The Facebook employee panelist was informative enough, but I couldn’t help feel that he really didn’t “get it”. His youth was indicative of the Facebook employee culture, but I am guessing he has never worried about a child getting home safely or being stalked on the Internet.

Questions were answered relating to privacy settings & Facebook procedures for blocking inappropriate posts and or members. The slide show was informative, but didn’t really reach the heart of the matter. The high school principal spoke with us about how the administration disciplines kids who post inappropriately in the high school network. The two high school age panelists spoke to their methods of protecting and sharing their information on Facebook. Yes, interesting, but I still left the event feeling hungry for more parenting tools.

I was left wondering, who is monitoring cyberspace outside of school hours? Whose responsibility is it? Should Facebook default to the most restrictive privacy settings for minors? Wouldn’t restrictions to spreading networks be highly counter to their business goals. Is Facebook’s sharing and connecting utility and business growth plan in conflict with the best interest of the kids?

Some parents felt that the school needed to become more proactive in teaching our kids to be safe, and even went so far as to suggest a mandated course. Others indicated that the cyber businesses which interact with youth need to take more responsibility.

My take: This is a new parenting frontier – an opportunity. We are two steps behind our kids, even if we think we know what they are doing online. It is a parent’s responsibility to discipline (Latin root = teach) our children how to protect themselves. Many kids balk at the idea of sharing their online communications with parents. Until my children are 18, I am the authority. We need to set expectations for our kids & walk them through this uncharted territory with guidelines. Parents: require your children to share passwords with you. Set time aside to see what your children are doing online. Invite them to browse through their accounts with you. Ask questions and really listen.

It is only with the cooperation of the businesses, schools and parent communities that we can hope to enjoy the benefits of social networks AND keep our kids smart & safe online.

“Build It Because They Are There” – The Real Meaning of Cloud Connect – It’s About Getting Apps Up and Running

As I sit in the CloudConnect Event at the computer history museum (twitter stream here), I was wondering about how to talk about cloud computing and the meaning of all this.  It became clear to me when I saw the Paul Buchheit post today on “Communicating with Code”.

He writes (talking about his experience with the development of Gmail..)…“From that day until launch, every new feature went live immediately, and most new ideas were implemented as soon as possible. This resulted in a lot of churn — we re-wrote the frontend about six times and the backend three times by launch — but it meant that we had direct experience with all of the features. A lot of features seemed like great ideas, until we tried them. Other things seemed like they would be big problems or very confusing, but once they were in we forgot all about the theoretical problems.”….”The great thing about this process was that I didn’t need to sell anyone on my ideas. I would just write the code, release the feature, and watch the response. Usually, everyone (including me) would end up hating whatever it was (especially my ideas), but we always learned something from the experience, and we were able to quickly move on to other ideas.”

What we have here is a real time web waiting for real time code.  All of the discussion about cloud computing is really about rapid development,provisioning of resources..etc. – in the end a better product for users (hopefully).  Paul talks about this in his post -Gmail turned out pretty good.

Cloud computing allows developers the ability to get “stuff” up fast.  Speed and feedback is critical to success and more important than having some “hardened app” that no one wants.  This is only way to develop in the web today.  Success is about speed and product acceptance is dependent on that speed which drives relevance.  Build a great product and it will work.

The motto “build it they will come” is irrelevant.  Instead the motto today is “Build it because they are there already”.  Having a robust, easy to use, easy to provision, and reliable cloud and services will flow to users for critical feedback  The rest will take of itself.  The good apps and services will “come to us” – Welcome to Infrastructure 2.0.

discussion on twitter via tag #cloudconnect

Market Economics Work – How We Solved Our Gas Crisis – Hey Mom Look No Government

By Anton Wahlman

American memories are apparently becoming shorter and shorter. Various
misguided references to the alleged causes and cures of The Great
Depression aside, people don’t remember that we once upon a time, less
than 100 years ago, didn’t have a Federal Income Tax, that drugs were
legal (and then alcohol prohibited), and that inflation and interest
rates were double-digits less than 30 full years ago.

Among the most recent things to be completely forgotten are the high
gas prices, peaking in July 2008 with nationwide averages over $4 per
gallon and people in California paying $5 on occasion. Politicians and
pundits blamed this on “speculators” and called for the government to
“do something.” Toyota (TM) Priuses were selling at MSRP or higher.

Less than six months thereafter, gas prices had fallen by over 50%,
and Toyota Priuses now come with $750 rebates to make them move. Never
before did gasoline prices fall so far, so fast. Not even close.

What was the government program that fixed this economic problem? The
answer is none at all. The government didn’t lift a finger to solve
this problem. It let the market do its magic, curing the issue with
its own natural self-healing mechanism first described in Adam Smith’s
The Wealth of Nations [1776]. Sure, there was a lot of huffing and
puffing about what people suggested the government should do, but in
the end the government did nothing. The problem just went away. No
government intervention solved the problem.

Think about it: The one recent problem which the government left to
the free market to solve, got solved in record-short time. Contrast
this to the ever-ballooning demands for the government to “do
something” about the financial and economic crisis. The demands from
almost all ends of the political spectra suggest that we drop all
economic common sense and instead spend money we don’t have.

Think about it again: We got into this mess by borrowing too much,
spending too much, and making too many loans. What’s being proposed?
Let’s spend even more, borrow much more, and make even more loans.
It’s like an alcoholic trying to cure a whiskey bottle’s hangover by
drinking a whole case worth of whiskey the next morning. If there ever
were a more self-evident disaster outcome guaranteed, I can’t think of
one.

The free market cured the high gas problem in less than six months
without the government lifting a finger or spending a dollar.
Likewise, the free market would cure the imprudent debt bubble by
allowing it to be pierced, seeing prices falling, wages falling and
allowing bankruptcies and foreclosures to clean up the imprudent
investments into orderly liquidation. Adjusting wages to demand, would
guarantee full employment as with any other market price.

In a free market, the current recession would probably be cured within
a year or two, and it would allow the government to cut expenses
instead of increasing them. Only by dramatically cutting the size of
our government, so that we can eliminate the deficit and start paying
back the debt, can we restore sanity to our financial and monetary
equation, which includes saving the value of the dollar.

As it stands, we are on a path that will put us in Germany’s World War
I surrender rail car and its 1918-20 aftermath. We will be left with a
debt burden so great that the only way out will be massive inflation,
as we essentially default on government bonds. Germany was left with a
huge war debt after World War I, but because the debt was not
denominated in British Pounds or French Francs, Germany simply
inflated itself out of its obligations, causing dramatic
mis-allocation of resources, societal chaos, the rise of Hitler and
the bloodiest war (World War II) in its wake.

In our case today, the debt-explosion path that we will apparently be
pursuing, will most likely also mean a massive inflation when we
eventually print the money to pay off the bond buyers (read: The
Chinese). China has one of the soundest economies in the world today,
with low or nonexistent public and private debt, and high growth, but
it has invested its surpluses largely in U.S. government bonds.
Whoops! All that the Chinese worked for during the last decade, will
go up in smoke. And in the wake of the Chinese losing their savings
invested in U.S. government debt – another war? We are clearly playing
with fire, taking on all this debt to finance unprecedented levels of
government spending.