Archive for the ‘conference’ Category
Scott Laningham and I first met around six years ago at SXSW Interactive. Scott was already well known for his developerWorks podcast series and blog, and he was walking around the conference talking to people, so we decided to sit down and do a podcast discussing all the cool things we’d seen and learned about during the conference.
It was the beginning of a wonderful and still ongoing collaboration, and since that time, Scott and I have shared the stage at numerous IBM conferences, interviewing industry luminaries, IBM executives and business partners, and other thought leaders.
But we always come back to SXSW Interactive. And so it was with 2013.
Scott and I sat down on Friday via Skype and chatted for nearly 30 minutes about all the interesting things we heard and learned about at this year’s event, the first time it reached over 30,000 attendees.
Some would say SouthBy has jumped the shark. I’m not so sure. I joked early on in the event last week that perhaps it had jumped a few dolphins.
Has it gotten a lot more crowded? Absolutely.
Has it stretched the outer limits of Austin’s hotel and transportation capacity? Without question.
Do you have to wait in long lines stretching halfway around the Austin Convention Center just to see a keynote? Yes yes yes.
And to my mind, it’s still worth every minute.
P.S. Scott has also established a new blog, which you can find right here on WordPress.
If you missed Carrie Underwood last evening in the MGM Grand Arena, well…I’m sorry.
Actually, I’d find it difficult to believe anyone from IBM Pulse missed Carrie Underwood, as the place was packed to the rafters, and Carrie did not disappoint.
In fact, quite the opposite…and judging from the line waiting to get in that stretched all the way back to the MGM hotel elevators, well, let’s just say expectations were high.
And as we move into Pulse 2013 Day Two, we should maintain those high expectations, because it was clear from this morning’s keynote customer interview led by IBM senior vice president Robert Leblanc that today’s focus would be on highlighting best practices in building and maintaining smart infrastructures.
IBM vice president Scott Hebner first kicked the session off, explaining IBM’s continued commitment to open standards (see yesterday’s announcement about IBM’s commitment to using OpenStack), explaining that “Just as standards helped us realize the promise of e-business over the last decade, I think the same is going to occur with respect to cloud computing.”
Scott also encountered an amusing “blue screen of cloud death” moment, where all systems failed, spinning umbrellas appeared on screen (and in the audience), and colorful chaos people appeared from offstage.
An amusing moment, but one with an underlined headline of warning: Thou who doth go too far forward building on proprietary platforms may findeth one’s business in cloud computing chaos!
Scott next handed the baton to Robert Leblanc, and it was time now for Robert to introduce a range of IBM Tivoli clients operating in a garden variety of industries: Steve Caniano, Vice President, Hosting, Applications, and Cloud Computing with AT&T; Robert Pierce, Assistant Vice President, Information Services, Carolina Healthcare; Eduardo Bustamante, Director of Systems and Telecommunications, Port of Cartagena; and Tony Spinelli, Chief Security Officer, Equifax.
First, he cleared the decks and set up the big picture: Technology is now the number one issue for CEOs, as they recognize it could make or break their success. Big data, mobile, and cloud loom over the horizon as competitive differentiating technologies, and, increasingly, are table stakes.
Security is more of a risk, but going on the offensive beats succumbing to the nastiness of the defensive (read the cyber security headlines lately?).
And yet…and here was the key point of the best practices session…only one in five CEOs feel they have a highly efficient IT infrastructure, one that’s versatile and dynamic and can adapt to the ever-changing whims of an admittedly volatile marketplace.
And Robert delivered more bad news (admittedly, he did so with a smile): 70 percent of CIOs lack proper visibility into their cloud systems, 78 percent are NOT using mobile device management, and 53 percent lack the proper automation of securing their assets.
Oh, and only one in ten feel they have the skills and capabilities they require.
Robert asked each of the IT executives about their respective environments and challenges.
Steve from AT&T observed that “cloud computing is a team game” but that “hybrid types of solutions needed to be deployed,” and he explained AT&T’s partnership with IBM had been key in this regard.
Robert with Carolina Healthcare explained in the field of medicine that “mobility has become a key differentiator” and that the new doctors coming up “expect robust information technology services” or else they’ll find someone else’s hospital to work at.
He went on to explain that Carolina had begun to use IBM’s Endpoint Manager to manage some 38,000 desktops, laptops, iPads and iPhones.
Eduardo had a different set of challenges, operating in a much more “physical” realm in using IT services to better orchestrate the cacophony of trains, cranes, and other moveable assets. He indicated the Port of Cartagena is implementing RFID in concert with IBM Maximo technologies to better manage and move those assets efficiently around the port, and in the process, adding a layer of analytics to allow for continuous improvement of that physical instrumentation.
And Tony with Equifax got a laugh from the audience when he started by stating that “Everyone in this audience wants me to do a great job,” acknowledging the company has and must protect the information of individuals and businesses around the globe.
He suggested companies need to move beyond simply “naming the bad actors” in the security intrusion front, and instead move to “better understand those bad actor’s strategies and tactics” so they can better prioritize, respond to, and yes, even prevent those incidences from occurring in the first place, something Equifax is doing through the implementation of improved security intelligence using IBM QRadar technology.
“By having better security intelligence on the battlefield,” Tony explained, “you’re better prepared.”
“Not all assets are created equally,” he explained, speaking, of course, for Equifax, but acknowledging a much broader theme and challenge to the gathered IBM Pulse crowd.
You may not know Chris Gardner by name or by face. But if he told you that one of the world’s most bankable movie stars, one who travels with a four bodyguard security entourage, made a movie about his story, he might just get your attention, as he got mine when he kicked off this afternoon’s session at the Tivoli Business Partner Summit here at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
And that’s when Mr. Gardner explained that Will Smith was not going to be joining us, and also the first moment Chris Gardner had the audience in the palm of his hands, which he never let go for the ensuing 45 minutes.
If you don’t know the story behind the story behind “The Pursuit of Happyness,” then you’re missing out. But the irony wasn’t lost on Mr. Gardner, who joked that the people in “Hollyweird” spent $70 million to recreate a story he endured “for nothing.”
But as it turns out, it wasn’t for nothing, as it’s a story that has inspired people around the world, in the form of both a movie and a book, one which has been translated into six dialects of the Chinese language.
And it all started with an interview that Mr. Gardner almost didn’t do with Barbara Walters for “20/20.”
But he did do the interview, which ran on a Friday, and on Monday the floodgates opened with calls wanting to exploit his story. Juxtapose that with another Friday he found himself in a Bay Area jail, a much longer weekend where he had to wait to get released so he could go and find his infant son.
Because ultimately, Gardner explained, that was his life’s work, a promise to himself: To break the cycle of failed fatherhood among black males, a promise he made when he was only five himself and didn’t have his own father around.
Soon, there was one call from the entertainment realm that interested him, one from Steve Tisch, a co-producer on “Forrest Gump” and part of a firm called “Escape Artists,” who convinced Gardner he wanted to help him share his story with the world through the form of a major motion picture.
Though Gardner was at first hesitant to okay Will Smith as the star — “This story is about inner space, not outer space” Gardner explained — his daughter ultimately convinced him when she said “Papa, don’t worry. If he can play Muhammad Ali he can play you.”
The key question everyone wanted to know, Gardner then continued, was “how do you become homeless?”
And his answer was, “life happens.”
He had worked his way into a great job at a local university, was soon married and an expectant father, and he was all about seizing opportunity. After enduring for a period a cushy if modest lab equipment sales job, he one day saw a guy driving a Ferrari, which he offered to help find a parking spot for. But he first wanted an answer to two questions:
“What do you do, and how do you do that?”
The answer was the guy was a stockbroker, cleared about $80,000 a month, and because Gardner was “pretty good with numbers,” decided that’s what he wanted to do with his life.
But as he again explained, “life happens,” and before he knew it he was destitute due to some accumulated parking tickets and some domestic woes at home. Before he knew it, he was without a job, health care, and soon, even his wife and son.
It was a single policeman who, during his ten day jail stay, cut him some slack and allowed him to make a phone call so he could postpone the all-important stock trader assistant job position he was applying for.
Shortly thereafter, he was successful in getting the job, but he lost his wife and now had an infant son to take care of. The boarding house he was staying in didn’t allow children, so he quickly found himself and his son on the streets of Oakland with no place to go.
It was at this point that Gardner explained that an estimated 23% of homeless people “have jobs and go to work everyday,” and that this problem has only grown through the economic downturn.
But through a series of ingenious, if challenging, moves, he found a way to take care of his son and endure the hard-nosed requirements of the new job, staying at times on the streets, at others in dime hotels, and yes, acceding to the kindness of strangers.
Including a reverend at a local homeless food distributor, Mo’s Kitchen, the proprietor of which saw Gardner standing in line with his infant son, an anomaly considering most of the kitchen’s visitors were homeless women with children.
“What are you doing with that baby?” the reverend asked one day. “I’m gonna keep it,” Gardner explained.
And so every day for a year, that’s precisely what Gardner did. “You would see me, my son, a stroller, one suit on my back and another in a hanging bag, and we hit the street, every day for a year.”
They slept outside, at airports (this was pre 9/11), a Union Station bathroom…wherever they could. And Gardner observed the one thing his son remembers from this period was this: “Every time I looked up, my father was there.”
Gardner remembers, “He didn’t know we were homeless.”
And despite all else, Gardner stayed homeless, until such time that he could save enough money to find his own place, a small apartment not two blocks from the train station they once frequented for shelter.
Gardner went to explain that his son didn’t know that some of the times he ate, Gardner went hungry, or that sometimes he was able to get a hotel room only after first giving blood. He didn’t know that, Gardner explained, “because that’s what fathers do.”
After spending their first night in their new home, Gardner’s son saw him leaving the apartment without carrying everything he owned, which he’d been forced to do for the better part of that year.
Gardner explained to him, “You know what son, we got a key now…we’re home. We don’t have to carry stuff anymore.”
“That was the start of turning our lives around,” Gardner related, although it hadn’t come easy. “After a year of struggle, I didn’t know how much more I could take when one day, my son, stood up in the bathtub, and said, ‘Papa, you know what? You a good papa.’”
We know the rest of the story from the movie, and from Gardner’s retelling. He went on to enjoy great success as a stock broker, ultimately arriving at Bear Sterns’ San Francisco office and making millions.
“Sometimes it’s okay to laugh all the way to the bank,” Gardner joked.
But through it all, Gardner never lost his perspective.
Much later, the great American poet Maya Angelou explained to Gardner that “This story ain’t even about you. This is about every mother who ever also had to be a father, and every father who ever also had to be a mother.”
This was about breaking the cycle of men who have not been there for their children.
And though you might not recognize Chris Gardner walking down the street if you ran right into him, he was there for his son.
And in the end, that’s all he really wanted any of us to know.
Good morning, Las Vegas.
You know, I joke about Vegas as my second home, but I really do have to admit, it’s a city that continues to grow on me.
And I’m sure that couldn’t have *anything* to do with the delightful, if dreadfully slow, round of golf I played yesterday at Las Vegas National.
As I mentioned in a post on Friday, this is the very same course (one of three) where Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event, the Las Vegas Invitational, back in 1996 (he beat Davis Love III on the first playoff hole to win).
It’s also where Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and others of the infamous “Rat Pack” used to hang out. I was only fifty years late on that front, but nonetheless, I did experience the course in all it’s glory and managed to pull of an 84. Considering Tiger’s 70 in 1996, I figure I was only .77 strokes a hole behind Tiger.
But enough sports analytics, because now all the play is behind me as I get down to work and the matter at hand, IBM Pulse 2013.
Please see my last post for some tips and tricks for navigating this year’s event (oh, did I mention, bring or go buy some comfortable shoes)?
I made my first navigation from the MGM hotel to the Convention Center this morning, and on the way, saw the now annual Burma Shave-like signs reminding us “we’re almost there!”
My favorite: Multitasking is all about doing several things badly all at once (There will be more of those tidbits of wisdom to come in future posts.)
Amen, oh great IBM Tivoli Confucian hallway philosopher!
Of course, this ain’t no Blazing Saddles shindig, so you actually *do* need a stinkin’ badge.
So, I picked mine up and wandered on into the Pulse Business Partner Summit to break a little fast, and chat with some of our partners.
When the lights went down, IBM Tivoli general manager soon hit the stage to “introduce” himself to the gathered wall-to-wall audience.
And it was quite an introduction. I’ve interviewed Deepak a few times now at IBM events, and even I had no idea of his depth of experience at IBM.
He explained he’s once been a UNIX programmer and helped bring TCP/IP to the mainframe, had worked on the SP2 supercomputer that once upon a time outwitted a Soviet chess superpower, and helped implement a number of key high availability and systems management capabilities into IBM’s mainframe line.
More recently, Deepak was the chief marketing officer for Lenovo before returning to the IBM fold to lead our Business Analytics efforts and oversee the acquisition of SPSS.
Deepak warmed the audience to him with a very funny story about having been representing IBM with its new supercomputer at a conference in frigid Rochester. Apparently, the IBM computer was very plain and vanilla looking, and so the competition started making fun of it.
Deepak and his team decided to run out to Wal-Mart and purchase some Christmas lights, which they promptly wrapped around their supercomputer (turned out IBM had the fastest supercomputer, Christmas lights and all).
After establishing his background and bona fides, Deepak got down to business, reaffirming the critical importance of IBM’s partners to the Tivoli and broader IBM business, but explaining none of us in the ecosystem could rest on our laurels.
“We must bring more industry and domain expertise” into our technologies, Deepak asserted, “and we must also bring our line of business and IT audiences more closely together.”
This, of course, observing a theme pervasive within IBM since CEO Ginni Rometty took the helm: We must focus more on our line of business executives.
From CMO to CFO, they are increasingly involved in the IT decision-making process, and the back office has moved to the front, requiring a more collaborative “sell” for both constituencies.
Deepak also acknowledged the pain IT organizations felt these last several years, and explained that’s why IBM has worked to try and free them from operational matters with technologies like PureSystems, so that they can spend more time working with their LOB partners on innovation.
Finally, Deepak walked the audience through a number of key core and growth priorities, ranking among them the continued focus on mainframe and storage evolution, the importance of standars, and looking forward to growth areas like endpoint management and cloud computing.
He talked specifically about the notion of the “portability of workloads,” explain how IBM has taken patterns from PureSystems and moving them to the cloud. (A line of questioning I aspire to take up in my interview tomorrow on the Livestream stage with PureSystems’ Nancy Pearson and Jason Gartner.)
He also tiptoed through the world of “dev-ops,” with specific regard to managing the life cycles of applications.
Finally, Deepak explained we can do more to improve the design and usability of our portfolio, and also use analytics (his old job!) to improve and make better operational decisions.
Pulse 2013 is underway…hold on to your console!
All these people in Barcelona attending Mobile World Congress, and seemingly so little news coming out of there.
For me, the key headline was the Nokia 105 which, while yawned at by most westerners, has the potential to be the downmarket phone king as Nokia moves more aggressively into emerging markets.
It’s a $20 phone that offers the basics, including phone calls, SMS, an FM-radio and a flashlight. And, 35 days of standby with 12.5 hours of talk time.
If it were a quad band GSM phone, I’d have it on my short list for second phones.
The other big news was IBM’s MobileFirst strategy, which, while not nearly as sexy as yet another yawnifying tablet device, does provide some grown-up guidance and direction for companies actually trying to pull together something resembling a unified mobile strategy.
Here’s what IBM’s Robert Leblanc, IBM vice president, middleware, had to say about the IBM MobileFirst initiative:
“To date, mobile computing has been dominated by discussions of new smartphones, operating systems, games and apps. But enterprises have yet to tap into the potential of mobile business. Just as the Internet transformed the way we bank, book vacations and manage our healthcare, mobile computing is also transforming industries. As these devices become ingrained in everything that we do, businesses are now in the palms of their customers’ hands. IBM MobileFirst is designed to make the transformation to becoming a mobile enterprise a reality.”
As for me, I’m packing up my mobile devices and taking them on the road.
In fact, I packed them up and took them to the TechTarget Online ROI Summit here in downtown Austin yesterday, and my colleagues thought it was worthy of a Facebook photo.
To which I explained, “I was traveling light!” (See the photo caption for an explanation of what’s what.)
Where am I off to, you ask? To Vegas, of course. My second home! IBM Pulse 2013 kicks off on Sunday, and I’m heading out early manana to take in a little golf history lesson.
That is to say, I have a 2:30 tee time at Las Vegas National, the very same course where Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event back in 1996, and where Dean and Frank and Sammy and the rest of the Rat Pack used to hang out and swill martinis after a long hard-fought 18 holes.
I’d like to tell you I’m playing there because of all this history and Tiger lore, but the fact is the old Scotsman from GolfNow gave me a very aggressively priced tee time, which no other courses were offering!
After that, however, it’s all work, and I’m looking forward to interviewing a number of IBM Tivoli luminaries for the IBM Pulse Livestream channel, including some of our business partners, analysts, and the man himself, Deepak Advani, the general manager of IBM Tivoli.
I want to also remind you of Pulse on Vivastream, where you can go do some preliminary social networking. Also check out the killer feature there in the right hand column of the main page, the “DIY Videos” where you can get some early previews of Pulse session speakers. Kil-ler.
In fact, let me do this: Below is my list of “Everything You Ever Needed To Know About IBM Pulse 2013 But Were Afraid to Ask Turbo”:
- Hashtag: #ibmpulse — all roads lead back to Twitter. Twitter is all-seeing and all-knowing at Pulse 2013.
- Vivastream at Pulse — How you can maintain your crazy Pulse schedule, find your long, lost systems admin buddy…orrr, that really cute girl whose lip you accidentally bused in that crazy, countrified Carrie Underwood mosh pit.
- IBM Pulse 2013 Conference Site — If you’re lost at IBM Pulse…or even if you’re not…this is always a good place to start. You can also use this page to find the video interviews I’ll start conducting on Monday.
- IBM Pulse Smart Site (Registered attendees only) — The official keeper of your IBM Pulse calendar.
- IBM Pulse On Facebook — Because we recognize there are people like me who spend way too much time on Facebook, and if you want to get their attention…
And now I want to pass you on to my good friend Rebecca’s Top Things You Shouldn’t Miss at Pulse 2013 — it does not include a round with Turbo at Las Vegas National, but other than that, it’s a great list.
Meanwhile, keep an eye for me on Saturday. I’ll be the one driving down the Las Vegas Strip looking for errant drives.
I’m not in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress which kicked off there today, but it seems like just about everyone else is.
Please, give my regards to Gaudi, have a few tapas and sangria, and I’ll aspire to visit the fair city another day.
Of course, when I say everybody else, I’m including some of my IBM colleagues, all of whom will be front-benching IBM’s recently-introduced “MobileFirst” strategy at MWC.
As I indicated in a prior post, IBM is putting some big bucks in mobile, and rightly so. And one announcement from earlier today in Barcelona demonstrates the ramping up of that commitment.
In partnership with Nokia Siemens Networks, IBM announced a collaboration to deliver the world’s first mobile edge computing platform that can run applications directly within a mobile base station.
This new platform allows mobile operators to create a truly unique mobile experience, relieve the ever increasing strain on network infrastructure and bring completely new solutions to market.
The new platform can accelerate the delivery of media-rich services by delivering content directly from the base station, ensuring enhanced quality of experience for consumers in the face of ever increasing data traffic growth.
The platform also enables a new generation of low-latency services with device presence to be delivered to consumers, creating new possibilities for mobile gaming, augmented reality, smarter traffic and public safety offerings, and more.
Improved latency can enable high-value vertical solutions that rely on big data-driven analytics to work on very large amounts of information in real time.
For example, IBM’s City in Motion solution can analyze radio information to estimate how people are moving through a city, identify their mode of transport, and configure a cities transport network in real time to ensure optimum performance.
If you’re in Barcelona for MWC, to see a demonstration at Mobile World Congress, visit IBM (Hall 3, booth 3B86) or Nokia Siemens Networks (Hall 3, booth 3B14) at the show.
For more information on Nokia Siemens Networks’ mobile broadband capabilities, including a video overview, follow this link.
And go here to learn more about IBM‘s communications industry solutions.
To share your thoughts on the topic, join the discussion on Twitter using #MWC13 and #ibmmobile.