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March 16, 2004

Law of conservation of modularity

[Via Windley's blog] Clayton Christensen emphasizes some of the principles which he elaborated in Innovator's Dilemma

Key questions which every startup should answer

How do we beat the competition? Which customers should we target? What products will our customer want to buy? How should we distribute to and communicate with our customers? Which things should our company do and what can our suppliers do? How can we avoid commoditization? Who should be on our management team? What is the best organizational structure? How can we know when to change course? Whose investment capital will help and whose might hurt?

Also talks about "Law of conservation of modularity" - important idea where either the integrated system or the subsystems need to be modular and comfortable in order to optimize performance for the other. Main takeway - "You make money at the borders to the modular(inefficient) layers"

It would be worthwhile to analyze emerging modular layers in the specific context of IT infrastructure management.

March 16, 2004 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Role of vision in entrepreneurship

Excellent essay on why companies need vision - both effective company vision and elevator-pitch oriented articulate vision.

March 16, 2004 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Riding on FUD

Black Duck getting decent press as the collective fear spawns a new software category. I just hope this should not go the security software way where everybody from Sand Hill road thought they should have atleast one security company in their portfolio.

Risk-mitigation/open source legal verification/indemnification game has just started. Its not just lawyers from SCO who are having tough time surviving, check what Jim Gray has to say -
""The key thing is [with] people who are selling their software, the software has to somehow be better than the free software and [if] it's not better, I'm puzzled as to what the business model is because they can’t sell it,"

Though I am skeptical about Jim Melton's assertion that " Oracle has a "10-year head start" in development. ". No prize for guessing how many years of advantage Solaris had when Linux came to the scene from nowhere !

Expect intense debate and marketing battle to lock-in proprietary advantage using innovative business models. Take for example Oracle's answer to the MySQL threat -
"scalability, high performance and huge databases". Funny thing is that there are companies developing underlying grid for providing scalability and high performance using open source stack. You can potentially combine functional software over scalable open source platform stack and get the same advantage as these proprietary software vendors provide.

March 16, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 15, 2004

Finally there is a cure for annotation problem

I had an ongoing frustration with my online research. Bookmarking and blogging is good but I always felt the lack of ability to annotate and categorize. Looks like this company - Onfolio - has found the solution for this. Their rich client interface and tight integration with IE is easy to work with.

Next step should be to add blog site interface like Zempt.

March 15, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Innovation improvement

From Strategy+Business and Booz Allen's research -

"..Superior innovation improvement is built on three platforms

Product strategy: Consistently making the right bets on defining new products.
Product architecture: Leveraging product platforms and establishing technology leadership.
Product development: Bringing more new products to the market — at target costs — with speed and efficiency. "

March 15, 2004 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Craig Newmark , founder of the hugely popular Craigslist, on his philosophy and customer-driven approach -

"There's a figure in popular mythology who goes to high school who wears glasses, a pocket protector, and has no social skills. Those stereotypes have a basis in reality. I used to joke about being a recovering nerd, but now I embrace some kind of nerd militancy. The Internet is about getting people to talk to each other. .... Quantum physics is fun, but the only way we can change the world is by doing the mundane stuff everyday. And then doing it again. The everyday stuff we do is what really matters in the world. We need to develop a culture of trust and earn it again every day. I take misuse of the list personally. We also pay a lot of attention to privacy, due process, and law enforcement. I get a subpoena on my desk about once a week. Community feedback should result in changes, and you need to provide excellent customer service. "

His is a refreshing voice, translates all complex issues into simple everyday concerns - helping each other, privacy, building trust by doing small things - everyday - , and best of all having a right moral compass.

March 15, 2004 in Social angle | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2004

The future is bright for complexity

"The future is bright for complexity." - David Seuss

From the same presentation -

"The ultimate future - Personal Search Engine
- Setup your personal content set from all the sources you know about as a result of your professional life
- Searches that contentset just for you !"

Thinking about it this definitely makes, Google will have tough time adapting the result set to the unique user context (there's a model of generalization) and thats where specialized/personalized search engines will be more effective.

I would love to see a personalized search engine which builds out a private Google based on three user inputs -
resume (professional associations and meta-data for skill/technology proficiency)
bookmarks (professional and personal interest destinations)
and blog (professional and personal interest discussions)

March 13, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2004

Be the change that you want to see in the world

Rhodes scholar Ankur Luthra, 22, was born in San Jose, California, to immigrants from Punjab. At Oxford he is pursuing a Master’s in Computer Science. He will begin at the Harvard Business School in the fall. In 2003, he received BS degrees in Business Administration and in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley, where he completed his course work in three and a half years with all A’s. He was awarded the University Medal, a gold medal given to the most outstanding student in Berkeley’s graduating class of over 7,000 students, and gave the Commencement keynote speech in which he acknowledged Mahatma Gandhi as one of his inspirations: “One of his sayings is what I live by: be the change that you want to see in the world.” He went on to conclude: “If nothing bothers you, I am deeply saddened. Complacency and selfishness are the core ingredients to a fading soul. If something, anything, bothers you, I challenge you to do something about it.” Ankur is the Chairman and Founder of Computer Literacy 4 Kids, a non-profit organization that brings computers and computer education to underprivileged students globally. He has also designed computer and artificial intelligence technology, started a dot-com company, and most recently worked for Microsoft’s Windows division as a Program Manager. He intends a career in technology entrepreneurship.

More young achievers here

Way to go guys. They are good inspiration to all the folks just coming out of the college. Interesting thing is that they all have strong social drive along with the professional achievements.

March 12, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 11, 2004

Epistemic Shift

Sneaked out during lunch time to attend A. Aneesh's lecture at Santa Clara University. Aneesh is a former bureacrat (Indian Administrative Services) and now a faculty member at Stanford University. When I read about this lecture title I thought I must listen to what socialogists have to say about the undercurrents of outsourcing and globalization( term we techies tend to use very loosely ).

Taking a broader view of governmental integration and eventually taking us to the current integration models built around new-age ether - software code - Aneesh talked about the new issues and social implications of virtual work.
Titled - "Work as Communication: The Globalization of Labor and Its Implications", lecture touched upon the work practices which are introducing new social behaviors.

"What is less known is a work practice that does not require either labor or corporations to move in physical space. This practice allows workers based in India to work online on projects for corporations in the United States, representing a new mode of labor integration where software code emerges as a new organizing medium "

Lecture was filled with lot of technical terms socialogists use in their discipline such as terming this new phenomenon as Epistemic shift. Which in layman terms means social shift driven by knowledge.

Explaining this shift along three integrating dimensions -

1. Algocratic integration - which uses programming as a medium and becomes a monetizing symbol of step-wise predictable tasks. Any tasks which can be programmed and is programmable can be part of this algorithm driven integration. Code is a new currency of liquified-labor market.
2. Spatial integration - Built around virtual space
3. Temporal integration - Follow-the-sun models, 24/7, all connected via mother computer.

Technology forces are always ahead of slow changing social norms, thus causing disconnects - which Aneesh calls horizontal disconnects :-
-Knowledge transfers, IPR issues
-Contract negotiations
-Conflicting management cultures
-Attitude to authority

Though his research tells him executives are looking towards technical solution to solve social problems. [ New security solution models validate this approach where technology is solving social concerns thus cementing the foundation on which whole virtual migration sits on]

Also he talked about social disconnects such as -

-linguistic turmoil
-religious and national holidays
-multiple locations

At the end one thing became clear and everybody kind of hummed and hoed that there are no easy answers and "Decline of leisure" is finally happening a full decade after the actual prediction.

March 11, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2004

Myths of open source

Busting the myths of open source (from CIO magazine)

A variety of open-source licenses exist, and helping CIOs understand their implications is good business for lawyers—very good business. "[CIOs'] concerns chiefly revolve around the implications of using code to which they can't verify their right to use," says Jeff Norman, a partner in the intellectual property practice of law firm Kirkland & Ellis. "Just because you've got a piece of paper saying that you own the Brooklyn Bridge, it doesn't mean that you actually own it."

For some users, third-party indemnification is an option. On Nov. 17, 2003, for example, JBoss Group announced it will indemnify and defend JBoss customers from legal action alleging JBoss copyright or patent infringement. Other vendors of open-source software—including HP, Red Hat and Novell—also offer indemnifications of varying types.

And while conceding that the situation isn't perfect, Sabre's Murphy says that he's heard all the legal arguments he needs. "It's a concern, sure, but we've basically got to do this. There may be friction and challenges—but I don't see any showstoppers." (See "Open Source Under Attack," this page.) "

New software category - Software Indemnification Management System , any takers ?

March 10, 2004 in Economics of IT | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack