Wired Declares The Web Is Dead—Don’t Pull Out The Coffin Just Yet was a Tech Crunch article recently about Wired’s RIP proclamation.
So…wow, wasn’t this a great title for an article … just sucked you into the read. The fancy color picture of course just helped. HOOK…LINE…and SINKER. Just in case you missed it, here’s the wow picture.
Really catching. But like with any graphic or worse, powerpoint presentation, it is what lies behind all that glitter. As pointed out by a friend, this is just the US for starters so it was a bit hyperbole by Chris Anderson, Wired’s Editor. On top of that, Nick Bilton in the BITS Blog New York Times, challenges some of the reading of the data.
In short, the old categories are likely not that useful and there’s a lot of convergence of Web traffic. If anything we know that the amount of data traveling over the “information superhighway”, to borrow an old term, has exploded beyond belief – Boing Boing notes:
“Between 1995 and 2006, the total amount of Web traffic went from about 10 terabytes a month to 1,000,000 terabytes.”
How much information is that? If we use the 20Terabyte for the US library of Congress as a benchmark…It just boggles the mind. I can’t compute really. Just for fun, check out Lesk’s “How Much Information is There in the World“.
I think that in many ways, this illustrates how data has become more and more part of the human experience, the human pysche. We might end up being Borg-like in our interconnectedness. Take a look at this description of the Borg. In particular where we might be headed:
Born humanoid, they are almost immediately implanted with bio-chips that link their brains to a collective consciousness via a unique subspace frequency emitted by each drone.
Right now, we got so many “data ports” that our brains can’t keep up with the multi-tasking required in today’s society. We need to “unplug” as they say and recently scientists were looking into this: “YOUR BRAIN ON COMPUTERS: Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain“. Look at the NYT Unplugged Challenge about this whole phenomena.
Very “Borg-like-esque” to me. Yes? No? May be so?
Maybe we do need a “coffin” but we just don’t know it yet.
Addendum: Now Playing: Night of the Living Tech in the Aug 21 NYT Week in Review discussing “the proliferation of digital media forms and fast-shifting patterns of consumption”.
Lots have happened in the past few months and my blogging frequency dropped to just about brain dead levels, reflecting the changes going on in life. So as the 1st half of 2010 finishes and the 2nd half of 2010 accelerates into 2011, a quick catch up and new horizons to seek and new journeys to celebrate.
I am blessed to make a successful transition from the corporate world to the vendor world. Not just because of the current backdrop of the worst economic crisis we have seen world-wide since the Great Depression, but because any life changes are full of anxiety and sometimes 2nd guessing. If anything, today’s world is more full of uncertainties, new paradigms and so-called “new normal”, more global competition, more challenges, more people chasing fewer brass rings, and more risk – personally, professionally, familial.
Yet by the same token, there’s more opportunity as well because with societal changes on this kind of massive scale, human needs are created in which solutions are dying to be discovered. Innovation and imagination is waiting to serve. And into this breach I jumped both feet in with not much of a peak to check if there’s enough water…just go! So by surrendering to my surroundings and after long and deep soul searching with help, it’s a return to the roots. A circle back into time – to be the solutions provider guy helping wherever the need is.
Previously as a CIO in the Greater China region, I had gained tremendous experience in so many areas: Top Team level, IT strategy, Business Strategy, Functional Management, Leadership development (both personally and others), Business and Functional Change, Organizational Development and Decision-making, Training and Multicultural teamwork amongst others. It was full-on, dynamic, frustrating, disappointing, exhilarating, satisfying, incomplete…. Lots of memories of the people and friendships and for that I am truly fortunate and blessed. But with the overall corporate IT environment changing, it was no longer a good fit. And it is sad to see how IT has changed to be too conservative, too slow, too reactive in a world needing the total opposite.
CIO’s more than ever need to play to win, not play to not lose. Now is not the time to be the smiling daisy or a wall-flower. IT guys all over are in a world of hurt and the squeeze won’t go away. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So, damned the torpedoes and full speed ahead – go down blazing.
The Business more than ever requires miracles on a daily basis and so throw out the old play book and make your own. CIO’s are buffeted by a perfect storm of (i) unforgiving business climate where top-line growth is like scaling the side of a mountain, (ii) cost management that borders on the ridiculous, and (iii) warp-speed response and deployment. We are in a brave new world for sure.
As a result of the new challenges and horizons to look forward to, I’ve jumped into the world of Cloud Computing and related technologies. Having a chance to work with incredibly smart and fun guys predisposed to giving it all and enjoying the journey as well as the opportunity to do cool and exciting things most folks only dream of doing…why not? Life doesn’t give too many opportunities but sometimes, when it goes, you just have to “SWOOSH IT“. Thus, it is returning to where my journey started during the dot-coms days and an Oracle ERP ASP. A second chance to work for fun, rather than work for the money/ego.
Check my new home out — Cloud Garage: Innovation through Cloud Computing.
In the meantime, I also did some minor housecleaning: changed from IP2MAP to TRACEMYIP widget which resets the visitors counter. Also fixed a couple of broken RSS feeds. One not so new feature is the article feed to my Facebook NewsFeed which I replicate here. Just goes to show what I’m reading and sharing on a daily basis.
Video Description: Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Jesse Schell, dives into a world of game development which will emerge from the popular “Facebook Games” era.
I’m catching up with some blogging that was inexcusably put on for months now. This is part of a follow up to the dual themes of play, games, and innovation which I had been tracking across the WWW and blogosphere. I just think that we miss out on how important this is to learning, business innovation, changed consumer behavior, and generally a brave new world. We in the corporate IT side of things cannot disregard these trends if need to we properly serve our business masters. Things are moving fast and better get on the train before it runs you over….
Another cool tid-bit is that Jesse Schell has a connection to one of my heroes, Randy Pausch. Among Randy Pausch’s legacy is Alice a wonderful world….maybe if it was around instead of 15-201, things may have been different for me? Hm.
It really has been a long while since I blogged. The usual life and work suspects to blame which I suppose isn’t enough explanation for the several months of absence. Glad to be back and nothing like having another TED2010 Talk classic to move me to blog it. Jane’s talk about gaming and making the world, life, and people better hit the sweet spot.
The key points which bear remembering are:
Nowadays I find that the emphasis in education is away from play and more toward standardization, memorization but this is a mistake. Innovation, creativity, the lack of fear of failure are losing out because it’s hard work. And likewise, gaming is hard work but necessary and from Jane’s inspirational case for more gaming efforts to be used and harnessed.
Unleash your inner-gamer!
Tis the season of Thanksgiving and I miss some of the US traditions around it. Not least of course the food – it’s one of the 4F’s in life we feed on: Faith, Family, Friends, Food.
It’s a time to reflect on the year and take stock of what’s happened and to look forward. It’s certainly been a difficult year on the professional front. But that’s tempered by the fact that I’m still gainfully employed with some good team members who are professional, work hard, and always try to deliver their best. So many are out there still struggling to find a footing and get plugged back into the workforce, whereas I’m given an excellent opportunity here in one of the world’s greatest cities and do things I like and personally grow.
I also give thanks to my team, who’s gone with me on this journey – some just a year and some 4 years. I give thanks because I ask them to saddle up and throw a yoke over me and I drag them into a Brave New World. Having said that, many have this year taken root and grown some wings are flying themselves now and we fly with them. One has moved on to being a CIO for a USD 300M company here. When we first met it was a strange situation (looking back in hindsight) – I parachute onboard to being captain of a Titanic and here was this self-professed “cockroach” who’s survived eons of changes, transformations, and idiotic managers. He’s now king cockroach and his new organization is lucky. Then there’s this MT who was a clueless as clueless comes. Given a white sheet of paper, what would you draw on it? After nearly getting himself kicked out he’s done a complete 180 degree transformation. A butterfly he is now and I learned alot of myself when faced with a white sheet of paper – there’s lots of room for improvement. Additionally, this year I found myself doing a lot to support new guys who working hard to improve – I appreciate their dedication, hard work to self-improvement. And they have, one has learned to do more for others and one just being open to new adventures absorbing as much as he can. All very good beginnings …
And then last but not least are my two seniors – can’t ask for a better group of people who keep me on the straight and narrow. One needs such strong foundational characters and act as the team’s compass. It’s not always about one person but about the many who create a successful environment for one and all. Helping us out is my dept admins and their invisible hands to guide and support me can’t be appreciated enough. While speaking of the “invisible players” that help ease the bumps along the journey, there are my life and executive coaches too: Winnie and Diana respectively.
My colleagues and peers across APAC are also one of the great joys of 2009. A whole new world opened up and there’s no going back. For certain, many more changes are in store next year and I look forward to what 2010 has awaiting.
As I wind down, I’ll be taking a break from blogging and focus on personal and family time over this holiday period. There may be a few catch up posts here and there, but thanks for reading and following my blog. I hope it’s been interesting, useful, and entertaining.
A few weeks ago I started to make some changes to my blog. I changed to the INove theme by author mg12. Not that I didn’t like the previous elegant Tarski theme by Ben Eastaugh and Chris Sternal-Johnson…but I sensed a change was needed and I also was going through a mood change myself.
Just recently I added two more RSS feeds: Mark McDonald’s Gartner Blog and ZDNet Asia Blog. This reflects my continuing journey toward the IT track away from the Program/Project Management side and also my continuing focus on Asia IT happenings.
For the latter, It’s been about 6 years or so in Asia first stop in Taipei Taiwan (lots of people get this confused with Thailand). Then recently in Hong Kong the past 16+ months here. Lots of changes personal and professional during these times. And at all times extremely thankful, because it’s been mostly been positive and growing experiences.
Overall, the Asian economies are doing relatively pretty well although not without suffering through it’s own structural changes. Companies continue to downsize tremendously – not least by the fact that the number of resumes I see are of extremely high quality and the number of recruitment firms chasing me for business – even those across borders. There are quite a lot of good human capital out there that’s “lost”. While not as bad as the US job and economy “titanicking”, it’s bad. The HR recruitment industry shakeout along with the FSI (Finance, Securities, Insurance) sectors is as ground shaking as the others.
I keep touch around the market to see how things are developing. Naturally the press would try to be upbeat and forward thinking but the ear to the ground is much more useful and predictive. And the news is certainly mixed. I’m starting to pick up a sense of predictive cycle and there’s some underlying dynamic forces at work which will show results in the coming 12-18 months I believe. We have China and India and everyone inbetween. The strong ones from Korea, Singapore, Japan will always be in the mix. The Europeans in Asia are probably healthier than their US counterparts (see Newsweek’s The Modest Superpower: How the financial crisis could leave Europe even stronger than America).
The key story continues to be China. It is still just growing and booming. It’s a juggernaut. Now, its impact within and without its borders is undeniable and where you sit colors your feelings about its impact. Surely the American whining of its currency manipulation policies is with merit, but by the same token, it’s a symbiotic relationship.
The 2009 year is ending soon and 2010 coming soon.
I just came back from a China visit and had an opportunity to participate in a ground breaking event involving my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. They’ve recently partnered up to launch in China a new iCarnegie Institute in Wuxi, China.
There’s a lot of exciting things going on in China and certainly seeing the development speed is both an eye-opener and a sobering experience. No doubt that there are big ambitions, big money, big energy to meet China’s big vision. Yet as with any development process, there are also big gaps, big needs, big challenges. In short, lots of opportunities.
It’s been a really busy year for me with conferences and summits and we’re just starting Q4 and there’s another couple more months of conferences and summits coming up in Hong Kong.
Earlier this year, I got nabbed by some marketeers from Brocade Communications to attend their APAC (Asia Pacific) roadshow for their Extraordinary Networks campaign to educate the enterprise sector of their acquisition of Foundry Networks. There’s a lot of good stuff in there which you can find about here, here and here. I don’t normally and actually loathe to write up specifically about technology partners. The reason for this is because I prefer to keep neutral and agnostic about my dealings with the supply side of IT. I’m a pretty principled best-of-breed technologist when it comes to building my IT “real-estate”.
On this point, I recently was honored to have been invited to the Marcus Evans 2nd Annual CIO Summit held Oct 6-8 in Macau. Key topics of the conference touched upon:
CIO Innovation – Conceptualising IT infrastructure to be the epicentre of achieving organisational efficiency and productivity Globalization of IT – Analysing the impact of globalisation on business trends that rely on data management to provide greater competitive advantage IT Architecture Evolution – Transitioning away from legacy systems and integrating emerging technologies to facilitate modernization IT Fortification – Maximizing network security to enable business continuity and minimize critical data loss Next Generation Investments – Adopting innovative technology to enhance the core infrastructure of a business IT Governance – Ensuring value delivery, monitoring accountability and complying with regulation
Strategic Redeployment – Evaluating the impact of migrating critical data infrastructure
Redesigning Service Level Agreements – Institutionalising a framework that supports durational and financial flexibility Storage Resource Management – Implementing efficient data storage practices to reduce costs and increase productivity Information Value Chain – Developing dynamic communication collaboration to facilitate efficient knowledge distribution and management Reputational Excellence – Ensuring high levels of data management and information delivery to avoid image erosion
As the opening keynote speaker of the summit, I tried to set the tone and breathe of the IT topics and issues many senior IT leaders face at some level in their professional life. The topic, I spoke on was in the IT architecture area: Pursuing Versatile IT Architecture to Effectively Respond to Economic Expansion and Contraction. The thrust of my presentation featured “The Matrix” into the principles of IT architecture. I also included my own version of the 7 IT Management layers as translated from the OSI Network layers framework. This was my “IT management for dummies” response to people in my team and outside my team as well as a personal effort to come to grips with the whole daunting IT Governance body of knowledge out there.
In summary, I covered the following key points:
Business Challenges CIO – Business Architect Choice: Technology, Process, People Balanced IT Design Case Brief
At first, I discussed the importance of having a good solid understanding of the business context – challenges, environmental factors – that your IT function is operating in (see Porter’s 5 Forces Modeling). Not surprising many of the CIOs in the conference are laboring under severe budgetary constraints. I mean seriously, how much “do more with less” can one stomach? I battled my turf with as blunt of a tool I could think of – “Cut my budget any more and I’m going to be cutting off your email and internet. Is that ok with you?” It was a wake up call because in the death march of corporate cost cutting, sometimes, you’re on auto-pilot that you and your finance colleagues need to be shaken out of the funk. Being a corporate lemming is not my idea of fun, thank you very much.
Second, I delved in the role of the “business architect” and I may be really bold and brash by saying so. The context of this starts here with the conversation between Neo and The Architect in “The Matrix Reloaded”.
From this it leads to the difficult problem we all face: CHOICE. Choice of people, choice of technologies, choice of processes. Wrong choices and we’re forced to contemplate “levels of survivability” and “rebooting” our own Business/IT Matrix. But this is not all we face because in each of these choices are other levels of choices and we find ourselves going dow different “rabbit holes” and where we end up, who knows? Overarching simple design principles – (a) alignment with Business Strategy and (b) future proof + present relevancy and performance of the IT real-estate – can help us with our choices, but they’re not so easily applied. This is because each of the 3 main CHOICES we have, they have 3 other major constraints to be applied in the analysis:
So in one’s IT Design evaluation of the ultimate “Matrix” there are futher questions:
1. What’s the Matrix you’re aiming to build?
2. Can you procure the people, technology to enable the Matrix?
3. Implementation hurdles which mainly in my view revolve around “control”
Finally, I wrapped up my 40 minute by discussing an on-going case in a high level illustrating some of these ideas at work. If you want to know more, you can view my presentation on Slideshare.
I don’t usually and haven’t in a while written directly about things happening around my work environment but it’s been very tough going. I’ve posted a couple of places about managing tough times last year and it’s still tough going.
Following those words, and looking at 36 months into managing like this does take its toll – personally and on the team. The good news is it’s character building and preparation for the future. If you can manage and work through this, there’s not a lot out there the world, life, can throw at you without you fearing it. The old adage, “What doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger” comes to mind.
But the downside is that managing “not to lose” is not sustainable. A friend of mine recently told me how he see’s a lot of the IT world – it’s playing for a 0-0 draw. Hearing that was like a punch in the gut but there’s a lot of truth to that. IT is expected to be perfect 100% and that’s business as usual. One failure or letting in a “goal” then you lose and everyone knows.
For that I like Seth Godin’s blog post called Hierarchy of Success. The 6 items are spot on reminders.
It’s a great reminder when the tough times seems interminable. Focus on yourself, your mind, your path as an anchor and a compass. Then the rest flows.
As one of my favorite quotes says:
“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
- Japanese proverb
In any event, the news isn’t getting better and if history is to be judge, it’s downright fugly. While we’re focusing on profits, we can’t forget that Profits = (Top line growth) Minus (Bottom line costs). What the Bottom Line Hides by Paul Lim in a recent New York Times Your Money column notes some frightening historical statistics on this front:
“[Y]ou can only cut so much,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S.& P. “At some point, you need to start seeing the business actually grow. You need to see increased sales” — sometimes called “top line” growth…
While overall S.& P. 500 earnings are still falling on a year-over-year basis, for example, the rate of decline has begun to slow, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters…
By contrast, declines in S.& P. 500 sales are picking up speed, according to S. & P. After slumping 14 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and nearly 17 percent in the first quarter this year, corporate revenue tumbled nearly 20 percent in the second quarter.
The revenue declines are even more staggering on a dollar basis. From June 2008 to June 2009, revenue of the 500 companies tumbled by a total of $1.15 trillion. “That’s more than the entire fiscal stimulus,” Mr. Silverblatt said…
But Mr. Ablin does not expect a turnaround in corporate sales until at least the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2010.
And it could easily take more time than that. Historically, revenue is one of the last indicators to recover after an economic downturn…
A recent analysis by Ned Davis Research, the investment-consulting firm in Venice, Fla., found that sales typically hit a trough three months after earnings do — or nine months after a recession ends.
Assuming that the recession has just ended, this means S.& P. 500 sales might not start to recover until next July…
Keep in mind that revenue doesn’t always heal exactly nine months after the economy does. A full year after the 2001 recession ended, sales among companies in the S.& P. 500 — minus the financial sector — were still shrinking by around 6 percent.
Moreover, in the last big downturn, at the start of this decade, revenue declined for seven consecutive quarters. If the market were in store for a similar sales drought, revenue might not start expanding again until the start of the third quarter of next year…
Thanks for that!
Trying to catch up with some blogging but back on the road again traveling and trying to manage “day-by-day” because sometimes, that’s all you’ve got. So what then?
“There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles.” – Stephen Covey
This came up in one of my Brainy Quotes RSS feed and I really liked it – and very timely as well. I was catching up with a colleague who was in between roles and looking to move from the Program/Project role into traditional IT. I remember being a bit startled by that because I was trying to go the other direction but also because I find that IT in Asia is a miserable slog. Not what I’m used to and not what I’m willing to accept despite the feeling that it is what it is … for a long while.
As we work through or struggle with unpredictable and difficult changes, unclear choices, wide open opportunities, what do we do? Sometimes we run afoul of paralysis by analysis and end up just standing stuck and not able to move forward to the next steps. Sometimes it’s just because one can’t come to grips with the unpleasantness ahead. And this quote from Covey I think is a great breakthrough.
Change is going to happen so let’s not spend too much time with it. So what choices do we have then to manage it – emotionally, professionally, psychologically, personally, whatever? I think we can skip then to the last one admonition – one’s principles. Let that be the foundation, the guiding light, to help with the choices and the changes. Working backwards, I think we ought to know what we stand for, what our passions are, what our strengths and weaknesses are and let that gently guide us or at least help us avoid making the wrong decisions.
This leads to personal success:
“Be who you are and be that well.” – Saint Francis de Sales
And this leads to a missive on managing IT in Asia. Leadership requires we tackle the toughest issues that have a direct impact on our ability to achieve success. Besides the organizational cultures we deal with, there are cultural ones that embed itself into organizational cultures and people behaviors/actions. While I don’t want to suggest that cultures cannot change, it’s extremely difficult and requires amazing toughness, perseverance, and courage to challenge it.
As managers we need to ensure that the processes, behaviors which incorporate so much cultural baggage are tailored to respect it. Yet, this isn’t sufficient, because, business change (especially now!) hence, people and their behaviors must also change which means that processes must change along with it. And this is the chicken/egg conundrum…
Defining insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Albert Einstein attrib)
How to get people whose cultural values put stability, command-and-control/authority to do things differently? As James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner put it in their classic book, The Leadership Challenge: “The art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations” is what leadership is about. Moving the “immovable” object takes serious sweat, tears and stick-the-neck-out-first actions.
And therein is the hard lesson – how do you make the horse drink the @*!&^*(@% water???
The water I want people to taste are:
1. Have some self-direction – don’t ask someone for where you should be going.
2. Personal initiative – don’t sit on your ass waiting for the cattle prod. Go, get up and fix a problem and be useful to someone.
3. Independent minded critical thinking – you were born with a brain, please freaking use it or give it to someone else.
4. I have the answers and am part of the solution – yes, you can actually make a difference no matter what level you’re at, what title you have (or not)…
5. The boss doesn’t always have the answers. And if s/he does, it’s not his/her job to get it done – it’s yours. Earn your pay check or else someone else will.
6. One day it won’t be so hard to fire people here….There goes your “iron rice bowl”.
7. I want to hear “can-do” this, “shall-do” that and simply get it done. I don’t want to keep hearing excuses and expect failures.
8. It’s NOT OK to be ignorant. You have GOOGLE now and I didn’t…so what’s your excuse hm?
9. Working hard is great but working smarter is better and easier. It’s the best guarantee of career longevity in the long run.
10. It’s really ok not to know the answer and be wrong and make mistakes. Because if you already were great, perfect and knew it all, I’d be happily working for you instead.
For IT especially, it is so dynamic and challenging, people must by nature be mentally agile, emotionally stable, mentally strong to handle all that’s thrown IT’s way. Speed of change vs immovable cultural object.
So then…. Why?