Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for September 13th, 2010

The Hidden Side of Everything

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Okay, it’s Monday, and I want to welcome you back to the Turbo Monday edition of “Guess Who’s That Keynoter?”

For this particular edition, we’re going to jump ahead to the Information on Demand event being held in Viva Las Vegas, Nevada, in late October.

All our IBM conferences tend to be smokin’ hot good (and, I’ll even dare say it, fun), but the Information on Demand event holds a special place in my heart.

First, I’ve been attending and blogging at IOD since 2006.  There, I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of the coolest, smartest speakers and authors from across the landscape.

More importantly, I get to talk to so many of you, our customers.

This year’s not going to be any different.

But before we get to the keynote build up, let me tell you a few things about this year’s event.

First, we’re expecting some 9,000+ attendees.  Yes, IOD has gotten that big, but in this case, bigger is better, because we’re rolling our Business Analytics event (which Cognos once sponsored) under the IOD tent this year.

Second, this year we’ll be looking more holistically at what IBM and its partners bring to the Information on Demand table, including hardware, software, and services.

We also expect to have over 600 tech sessions, 160 Cognos and SPSS sessions, 11 industry-focused business and IT leadership sessions, 128 hands on labs, 300 customer speakers, and IBM’s largest exposition from all its events around the globe.

For 2010, we’ll also have two full days of business partner programs, and we’ll have our regular standard fare that you’ve asked to continue, including networking opportunities and 1-1s with IBM execs.

Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Now, back to the spotlight on our featured speakers.  They not only think out of the box — they don’t even know the box exists.  Because to acknowledge the box would be to acknowledge its limitations.

Like any good business analytics experts, they view the world through a very different lens by pointing out how numbers don’t lie, and, when carefully considered, can speak volumes to actual truths on the ground.

Do you know who they are yet?

If not, know their first unlikely collaboration resulted in an international bestseller. Its premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work…this book will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.


They went on to publish another best seller, and also to produce a podcast series on iTunes as well as a blog on The New York Times.

Okay, I’ll spare you the drum roll.  But I’m talking about Steven and Stephen, of course.

Steven D. Levitt, the professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and Stephen J. Dubner, an author and journalist living and working in New York City.

In their first tome, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economics Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, these two gentlemen delivered story after story that addressed ways to create behavior change and demonstrate what incentives work and what didn’t — with the research and data to back up their often controversial claims.

Hailed by critics and readers alike, the book went on to spend more than two years on The New York Times bestseller list, and has sold more than 4 million copies around the world in more than 30 languages.

Those are the kind of numbers that simply don’t lie.

This past October, they came out with their second book, Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance.

You can hear Steven and Stephen speak at Information on Demand, IBM’s Premier Forum for Information & Analytics, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center this October 24-28 in Las Vegas.  Visit here to get all the details and to register.

Meanwhile, whet your appetite for more from the Freakonomics guys by reading their blog.

Even Giants Stumble

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I watched most all the men’s semi-finals at the U.S. Open on Saturday, and I have a feeling that the match between five-time Open champion Roger Federer and Serbian Novak Djokovic will go down as one for the record books.

When I first moved to New York City at the ripe old age of 18, I went to see an afternoon of tennis live in Flushing Meadows, and that year the men’s final included Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.  McEnroe took the championship 6-3 6-4 6-1.

I watched that year’s final on a small TV in my basement apartment in Woodside, Queens.

This year I was able to catch the semis in HD on a 55″ Sony Bravia, and of course, also follow the action throughout the tournament on the IBM-sponsored U.S. Open Web site.

I definitely prefer the HD big screen.

But I really had no inkling that Roger Federer was going to do anything but walk away the winner yesterday.  After Rafael Nadal made short work of Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, I, too, was looking forward to (finally!) a Federer/Nadal U.S. Open final.

But it wasn’t to be.

Without question, the turning point in the match came 4-3 in the fifth set, and Federer had Djokovic down 15-40. But Djokovic refused to go down without a fight, and point after point he answered Federer’s screaming serves and avoided falling even further behind.

From there on in, it was a nailbiter, and though we didn’t get our Federer/Nadal final, I’m looking forward to the men’s finals even more considering it’s Nadal’s first time in the final match (Djokovic lost to Federer in the final in 2007, 7–6(4), 7–6(2), 6–4).

Alas, the rain kept the match from occurring during its scheduled 4 PM E.S.T. start this (Sunday) afternoon, so tune in tomorrow (or set your DVR) for 4 PM.  It should be a good one.  I’m sure Djokovic was thankful for the extra day’s recovery time.

Finally, congrats also go out to Kim Clijsters for winning her second women’s U.S. Open in a row, who defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-1 last night.

Written by turbotodd

September 13, 2010 at 12:27 am

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