Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
For those of you in the northeast, I feel for you.
The coming snowstorm sounds like a monster, and reminds me of my first big storm when I was living in the New York area, the “Blizzard of 1996.”
If memory serves, it really kicked in on Sunday, January 7. I was living in the White Plains area, and had walked down to a local bar so I could watch a Dallas Cowboys football game on their TV there.
I remember the snow starting to fall in the first half. By the end of the game, snow completely covered the sidewalk outside.
I walked home through the snow, and it was still coming down pretty consistently and pretty heavily.
I had no idea.
When I awakened the next morning, I looked outside and snow was piled up halfway up the door of a car parked across the street.
I was speechless. Growing up in north Texas, it was a HUGE deal to ever see ANY snow. To see it fall like there was an endless supply…well, I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing.
New York City had pretty much shut down. Before it was all over, they were dumping snow into the Hudson River, as there was nowhere else to put it.
IBM offices were closed on Monday, and I think Tuesday, that week, but I remember being able to work from home through a phone line. Yes, a phone line. You know, with a modem. Where you dialed up to your server and got that really annoying connecting noise when the modem finally coupled.
I can still hear that sound today, 17 years later, like it was yesterday.
My recommendation to my friends in New York, Boston and in between: Run to the store, buy yourself plenty of food and water, a bottle of whiskey, some candles and batteries, and just hibernate.
If it’s good enough for bears, it’s good enough for we humans, especially in a mjor snowstorm. Sounds like a perfectly good opportunity to read that latest book you’ve been putting off.
Oh, that, and make sure you go out and play in the snow. You don’t want to let all that white stuff go to waste!
P.S. I’m expecting to fly up to New York City on Monday for a business trip, so I’d appreciate you all clearing the runways at JFK sometime over the weekend. ’Kay, thanks!
Spoiler Alert: If you don’t want to get an update on The Farmers Insurance golf tournament at storied Torrey Pines in San Diego, stop reading NOW.
As of Monday afternoon, it looks as though professional golfer Tiger Woods is going to begin his golfing year with a big bang, currently at 15 under and five strokes ahead of last year’s victor, Brandt Snedeker.
I happened to be at Torrey Pines exactly six years ago this week, on a business trip, when Tiger also won (at that time the tournament was sponsored by Buick), and that also happens to be the first (and only) time I’d ever seen Tiger play live.
This, of course, was well ahead of the 2008 U.S. Open, which Woods also won in a playoff against veteran player Rocco Mediate, and also a full year and a half ahead of Woods’s “personal” issues.
So what’s different this time around? In 2007, Snedeker was a tour freshman, and Woods pretty much owned professional golf.
In the past six years, however, a lot has changed, including the fabric of the tour. Irish phenom Rory McIlroy since appeared on the scene, and he’s now the one in the Nike spotlight, having just signed a very lucrative deal (and also dealing with the transition to playing with Nike equipment).
Woods, on the other hand, was off in the wilderness, and only last year, after much coaching and a full swing overhaul, did he return even close to looking like the Tiger of old.
What’s old is new again, because these past several days in San Diego, the old Tiger has become the new Tiger, or the new Tiger the old…or something along those lines.
He’s pretty much owned the leaderboard, and despite a fogged out Saturday third round, his patience has been a virtue — not to mention his short game, which has been virtuoso — and never mind, his long drives straight up the middle, and his (typical) laser-lined iron shots.
After his U.S. Open victory in 2008, Tiger revealed he would miss the remainder of that season due to knee surgery, and for those of us who watched the showdown with Mediate, it was pretty clear Woods was in a lot of pain.
This year, Woods seems healthier than ever, his game seems remastered (pardon the pun), and if he keeps it together the last three holes, he will have won once again on the course he played so much of growing up.
Then, more importantly, he strolls into the rest of 2013 — including the first major of the season, The Masters, in April — looking as though he could be a real contender, in the majors, the tournaments he enters, and of course, the now-cherished FedEx Cup.
Despite his ups and downs in recent years, Tiger still demands attention, thankfully more now on the course than off. You need only have watched the coverage these past few days of Woods to see the galleries looking bigger than ever, scaring the Tour freshmen but seeming to bolster Wood’s confidence in all his shotmaking.
Make no mistake, 2012 was a great year for golf, what with Bubba’s curved wedge shot to win out over Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff at Augusta, and McIlroy’s missing the cut at the Olympic Club, and probably most notably, the U.S.’ failure to win back the Ryder Cup.
But Tiger taking Torrey by four or five strokes out of the gate in 2013, with Rory gazing on from off the side of the green, along with a host of new names we’ve never heard looking for a piece of the PGA action.
Well, let’s just say 2013 might be an even bigger year than 2012 for professional golf, and a bigger one than that for Tiger Woods.
Facebook had the world waiting for its news yesterday.
There was interminable hyperbole about what the announcement would bring.
Facebook was preparing to conquer the world of mobile.
Facebook would FINALLY be introducing a mobile phone.
Facebook was going to send a coding team to Mars to write a search engine for Martians.
That last part I made up.
But hey, why not, everyone else in the world was conjecturing what was the primary topic of the looming announcement?
Being a marketer, I was caught up in it like everybody else, and also just as much in the dark.
Which was kind of the point.
There’s no question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken a few pages from the Steve Jobs “secrecy in marketing” playbook.
Announce you’re going to have an announce, be as positively vague as possible, and then wait for the speculation onslaught to begin.
In the end, it was all about search, which has for Facebook’s short life been one of its more miserable capabilities, so in that respect, the news was welcomed.
Facebook was going to fix its search capability, allowing its users (albeit initially in a limited beta) the opportunity to search their Facebook social “graph” across a range of functions: People, pictures, interests.
The fact that it took two displaced Google engineers to come into Facebook to build this function adds only a wee bit of irony to the equation.
I, for one, immediately went and asked to participate in the beta, though my invitation will likely loom ignored in Zuck’s inbox for some time.
In the meantime, I will wait impatiently for the opportunity to go out and search my high school Facebook sub-graph to discern, once and for all, the most popular band during our golden years (My money’s on AC/DC, but Pink Floyd might give them a run for their “Money”).
Or, to discover via the serendipity that is inevitably going to characterize Facebook’s search graph, that Austin still largely prefers Uchi (in South Austin) to Mushashino (off Mopac) for its finer sushi, although the latter is always a good escape valve for the Uchi unagi lines snaking along South Lamar.
Or to find out that Facebookers around the world who root for the Chelsea Blues pretty much detest anything to do with Manchester United, with the exception of one person on the planet (me). I like ‘em both, but perhaps that’s just my attempt to pick TWO winners to try and make up for the recent massive deficit left by the wandering Dallas Cowboys.
No, much of this I already know, and Facebook search will simply be my new vindication engine, confirming the best and worst I thought of humanity in one fell graph searching sweep.
I just wonder if the new search graph is going to tell me something I don’t know.
Excuse me while I run over to Google to see if I can find out.
Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: IBM VP & GM Yuchun Lee On Marketing Automation & Optimization
My partner-in-crime, Scott Laningham, sat down to chat with IBM VP and general manager, Unica co-founder, and former MIT card-counting guru, Yuchun Lee, about the opportunities presented by “smarter commerce” for companies everywhere at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit.
In his keynote earlier this week, Lee explained that IBM now has a “more comprehensive suite for relevant and personalized offers, and an enhanced social media metrics capability” in the form of Unica Marketing Automation Tool v. 8.6, a capability that clients around the globe have been clamoring for.
The social buildout also incorporates enterprise analytics, tag management, and full mobile and social market capabilities that tie more closely together the marketing automation experience with the social realm.
Lee also explained in his keynote that many organizations must adjust their marketing cultures to fully capitalize on the Generation C culture. They must build organizations that balance analytics and creative talents (easier said than done!), work with IT rather than around IT, and break down marketing siloes — digital and traditional marketing must consolidate and collaborate.
Words of wisdom from a former world-renowned blackjack player, and now, market thought leader in the realm of social/Web metrics and marketing automation.
IBM just announced a definitive agreement to acquire Varicent Software Incorporated, a leading provider of analytics software for compensation and sales performance management.
Varicent is a privately held company, with headquarters in Toronto, Canada. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Varicent software automates and analyzes the collection and reporting of sales data across finance, sales, human resources and IT departments to gain efficiencies, uncover trends andimprove sales performance.
This acquisition accelerates IBM’s “smarter analytics” capabilities across line of business operations in all industries, and will be combined with IBM’s existing software offerings that are delivered to clients through on-premise or cloud computing models.
With growing volumes of data, companies are increasingly looking for ways to automate and gain faster, more accurate intelligence on sales and financial management data in order to increase competitiveness.
According to Gartner, organizations that adopt compensation management solutions can expect to reduce errors by more than 90 percent and reduce processing times by more than 40 percent.
Varicent’s software automates and integrates all aspects of sales, client and financial performance management across the enterprise, which is traditionally a labor intensive process. Unlike traditional tools, Varicent provides a single management system that relies on a sophisticated calculation engine to model and analyze the effectiveness of incentive spend.
The software allows clients such as banks, insurance companies, retailers, information technology and telecommunications providers to more accurately determine compensation, streamline territory assignments, manage quotas, and report and analyze sales activities. The software also strengthens audit and compliance readiness and provides transparency for all aspects of incentive compensation.
Varicent was founded in 2003 and has more than 180 customers using its software, including Starwood Hotels, Covidien, Dex One, Manpower, Hertz, Office Depot and Farmers, among many others.
IBM will combine Varicent with its R&D and prior acquisitions including Algorithmics, Clarity Systems, OpenPages, Cognos and SPSS, to expand IBM capabilities in business analytics and optimization across finance, sales, and customer service operations.
These acquisitions are part of IBM’s larger focus on analytics, which spans hardware, software, services and research. IBM has established the world’s deepest portfolio of analytics solutions, business and industry expertise.
This includes almost 9,000 dedicated business analytics and optimization consultants and 400 researchers. IBM secures hundreds of patents a year in analytics, and continues to expand its ecosystem, which consists of more than 27,000 IBM business partners. IBM has also created eight global analytics solution centers in Berlin, Beijing, Dallas, London, New York, Tokyo, Washington and Zurich.
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012. With the closing of this acquisition, it is expected that all of Varicent’s employees will join IBM’s Software Group.
Okay, so the first golf major of the year is over, and Bubba Watson has his first major and first green jacket.
Well, pour moi, it’s time to get back down to business.
It’s been an eventful week thus far in the tech world, and it’s only Tuesday.
First, of course, there was the Facebook acquisition of Instagram for a cool $1 billion (in cash and stock). According to reports I read, they could’ve bought what’s left of Kodak 12 times over for that amount.
If you’re not familiar with Instagram, it’s been a (until last week, when an Android version was introduced) free iPhone photo sharing app, one that allows you to apply cool digital filters and then share the pic on a variety of social networking services (including Twitter, and, of course, Facebook). Instagram’s leading feature that made it so attractive was its insanely fast growth — it’s less than two years old and already has over 30 million registered users (including me!).
Only time will tell as to whether A) Facebook will screw Instagram up and B) whether or not this was a smart deal.
Wired’s Epicenter blog seems to think so, explaining that its acquisition per cost per user was only $28 per user, as opposed to the median of $92 per user across the span of a wide variety of Internet acquisitions since the dot com boom.
And with only 13 employees, the payout per employee hovers close to $80M per user!. Compare that to the closest runner up, Google’s acquisition of YouTube at $24M.
My take: The air is definitely thinning up here on Mount Internet Olympus, but I’ll not call a bubble foul just yet.
We also heard about the beginnings of Yahoo’s reorg, AOL’s patent sale to Microsoft for $1 billion, AT&T’s divestiture of Yellow Pages for $1 billion (what IS it with that $1 billion figure? Pretty soon those billions add up to real money!).
Even HP got into the tech-heavy news game, announcing its “Converged Cloud” initiative.
But the big enterprise tech news of the week shall be shared by IBM tomorrow in a major Webcast announcement.
Our own Steve Mills (among others) starts to open the kimono about IBM’s expert integrated systems in the following video:
But you can hear firsthand all the details of this major announcement by IBM by registering for tomorrow’s (Wednesday, April 11th) live webcast, at 2:00 EST, 1:00 Central, and 11:00 Pacific.
Simply visit www.ibm.com/expert to get registered in advance!
IBM’s 2011 “Five in Five”: Innovations That Could Change The World (And A Little Monty Python Thrown In For Good Measure)
Before I get to the business news of the day, let me send a hearty congratulations to U.K. golfer Ian Poulter, who won the Australian Masters yesterday and outgunned Aussie’s own Geoff Ogilvy, who was attempting to take the tourney on his boyhood course.
Poulter was two strokes behind Ogilvy heading into the final round and closed with a 4-under 67 on a very windy Victoria Golf Club.
Nice win, Poulter. Poulter should have plenty of Aussie dollars to head out for a little X-mas shopping, and perhaps he’d like to invite English striker Darren Bent to join him for a little shopping.
Bent was busted on the sidelines of Sunday’s game against Liverpool for doing a little online shopping (his team was losing), even though he was out for the day due to injury. Otherwise, Bent is Villa’s leading scorer, to which I say, “A goal a day helps keep the Xmas cash register away!
But enough of sport. It’s time to get serious. And IBM’s latest “IBM 5 in 5,” a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years, has arrived just in time for the holidays.
We’ll take them one at a time.
Watch the 5-minute video above for a quick fly-by of IBM’s 2011 “5 in 5″ innovations.
1. People power will come to life.
No, we don’t mean protests in the streets of Egypt or Libya, although that is certainly a worthwhile sort of people power. We’re talking about real people power, anything that moves or produces heat and which has the potential to create energy that can be captured.
Walking. Jogging. Bicycling. The heat from your computer. Even the water flowing through your pipes.
Advances in renewable energy technology will allow individuals to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, offices and cities.
Imagine attaching small devices to the spokes on your bicycle wheels that recharge batteries as you pedal along.
You will have the satisfaction of not only getting to where you want to go, but at the same time powering some of the lights in your home.
Created energy comes in all shapes and forms and from anything around us. IBM scientists inIreland are looking at ways to understand and minimize the environmental impact of converting ocean wave energy into electricity.
2. You will never need a password again.
I’m paying special and close attention to this one. I have so many IDs and passwords I don’t know when I’m coming or going, and my new favorite pastime is emailing web sites to request they send me an email reminder or password reset.
In this “5,” your biological makeup is the key to your individual identity, and soon, it will become the key to safeguarding it.
So to speak. No, you will no longer need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins.
Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye.
Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.
Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data — facial definitions, retinal scans and voice files — will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.
Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized.
To be trusted, such systems should enable you to opt in or out of whatever information you choose to provide.
3. Mind reading is longer science fiction.
Hey, get out of my head! I see what you’re trying to do! It won’t work…well, maybe…it…won’t.
But maybe it will!
From Houdini to Skywalker to X-Men, mind reading has merely been “wishful thinking” for science fiction fans for decades, but their wish may soon come true.
IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. If you just need to think about calling someone, it happens.
Or you can control the cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it.
Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking any actions.
Within 5 years, we will begin to see early applications of this technology in the gaming and entertainment industry.
Furthermore, doctors could use the technology to test brain patterns, possibly even assist in rehabilitation from strokes and to help in understanding brain disorders, such as autism. .
4. The digital divide will cease to exist.
You’ve heard of the digital divide? Well, get ready to see that divide get split in half…or even divided into infinity.
In our global society, growth and wealth of economies are increasingly decided by the level of access to information.
And in five years, the gap between information haves and have-nots will narrow considerably due to advances in mobile technology.
There are 7 billion people inhabiting the world today. In five years there will be 5.6 billion mobile devices sold – which means 80% of the current global population would each have a mobile device.
As it becomes cheaper to own a mobile phone, people without a lot of spending power will be able to do much more than they can today.
For example, in India, using speech technology and mobile devices, IBM enabled rural villagers who were illiterate to pass along information through recorded messages on their phones.
With access to information that was not there before, villagers could check weather reports for help them decide when to fertilize crops, know when doctors were coming into town, and find the best prices for their crops or merchandise.
Growing communities will be able to use mobile technology to provide access to essential information and better serve people with new solutions and business models such as mobile commerce and remote healthcare.
5. Junk mail will become priority mail.
Do you remember the original spam, the one that led to the Internet terminology? It was a reference to a 1970s Monty Python sketch set in a case where nearly every item on the menu included Spam canned luncheon meet.
As the waiter recited the Spam-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons downs out all conversations iwth a song repeating “Spam…Spam….Spam…” You get the picture?
Now, think about how often we’re flooded with advertisements we consider to be irrelevant or unwanted. It may not be that way for long.
In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem spam is dead. At the same time, spam filters will be so precise you’ll never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again.
Imagine if tickets to your favorite band are put on hold for you the moment they became available, and for the one night of the week that is free on your calendar.
Through alerts direct to you, you’ll be able to purchase tickets instantly from your mobile device. Or imagine being notified that a snow storm is about to affect your travel plans and you might want to re-route your flight?
IBM is developing technology that uses real-time analytics to make sense and integrate data from across all the facets of your life such as your social networks and online preferences to present and recommend information that is only useful to you.
From news, to sports, to politics, you’ll trust the technology will know what you want, so you can decide what to do with it.
Greetings from Bonefish Cay in the south Atlantic. Think Nassau, Bahamas, fly NNW on a prop plane for an hour, land in Marsh Harbour, then take about a 10-minute boat ride.
I’m staying with old friends, and I won’t rub in how remote and islandy this place is. I came down for a week to visit, do a little scuba diving, maybe play a little golf, and generally speaking, just chill out.
But the winds haven’t exactly been cooperating — it’s been averaging 14-20MPH gusts since I arrived, and the temp has been in the low-to-mid 70s, so despite one trip into the water to search for some conch for dinner, we’ve mostly stayed out of the water.
Speaking of water, the island has to produce its own fresh water, so I got my first ever gander at a desalination system. The primary device is an SK HC 5,000 desalinizer, which produces 5,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water per day. That averages out to around 210 gallons per hour.
The primary power source here is a Northern Lights 125KW diesel generator, which sends current out to 4 different inverted battery banks, to several houses located here on the island.
The Internet access here is provided by HughesNet, so as not to be completely cut off from the world. Hey, just because I’m on vacation doesn’t mean I completely gave up my ability to communicate with other humans! And anyhow, how was I going to post all those cool pics on Facebook if I didn’t have some form of Interwebs!
So here’s how this Hughes thing works: You send a request from a Web page that the Hughes satellite dish devices sends to a satellite that’s situated about 22,000 miles up in space.
According to Hughes, at that altitude, the satellite’s period of rotation (24 hours) matches the earth’s, and the satellite always remains in the same spot over the earth. Because Internet via satellite is now so technologically advanced, this distance hardly makes a difference, even with rural Internet connections.
Next, the satellite contacts the Hughes Network Operations Center (NOC), which locates the specific Website you have requested.
Finally, the Website beams the information back along the same path to the NOC, then to the satellite, and then to your computer through the HughesNet dish and modem.
What I’ve discovered is that even though the signal travels a great distance — when’s the last time you travelled 22,000 miles in a millisecond or two — there’s only a fraction of a second delay during the transmission.
Not unlike the delay you may have experienced when you using a cell phone.
And anyhow, you’re on an island, you shouldn’t be surfing the Internet anyhow. And if you are, you should at least have a glass of rum and coke next to your computer.
Me, I’ve never had to lean on a satellite dish for Internet access for so long, but so far I’m sold…and hey, it beats sitting around talking to a volleyball named Wilson.
If you want to have a quick Walter Mitty moment, check out my takeoff from Nassau airport. This was in a 9 passenger Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander, which has a top speed of 170MPH and a range of 874 miles.
And it’s really, really loud. Just how I like my prop planes while on vacation.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make sure the Dish network is ready to deliver up the Dallas Cowboys/Arizona Cardinals game. It’s now windy AND raining on the island — oh thank heaven for high technology.
During my recent visit to Bangalore, I shot the attached video with my almost-new Canon S95 digital camera. This was a meeting we were having with our new “social intelligence” team there, a crack team of young, but very bright, social media listening superstars.
For far too long, I’ve been putting off learning how to use iMovie, but now that I have my handy MacBook Air 11″, complete with 128GB SSD drive and 4GB RAM, I decided it was time to put the Air, and myself, through the video test.
To demonstrate how easy it is to learn how to use iMovie, I walked into the tool this afternoon with virtually no real experience to speak of, and arrived at the product below about 2 hours later. Watch out, Spielberg and Scorcese, the Turbo knows (well, almost) how to produce a video now!
Thanks to the great team in Bangalore for patiently smiling into the camera as we made introductions to our WW team who were situated back in the States during this meeting.