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July 20, 2004

Making voting cool

Puff Diddy doing what celebrities should have done long time back. To use their star power for common good. Way to go P. Diddy.

This should act as a hint to celebrities all over the world that Citizen Change is a good idea and they can help move it forward. Like everything else nowadays big movements too start with a website (and should I say blog ?). Diddy start a blog !

July 20, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2004

Open source moving up the chain

Plenty of open source news. Most of them are confirming Frank Heckler's suggested business models around open source -

"Support Sellers," in which revenue comes from media distribution, branding, training, consulting, custom development, and post-sales support instead of traditional software licensing fees
"Loss Leader," where a no-charge open-source product is used as a loss leader for traditional commercial software
"Widget Frosting," for companies that are in business primarily to sell hardware but which use the open-source model for enabling software such as driver and interface code
"Accessorizing," for companies which distribute books, computer hardware and other physical items associated with and supportive of open-source software
"Service Enabler," where open-source software is created and distributed primarily to support access to revenue-generating on-line services
"Brand Licensing," in which a company charges other companies for the right to use its brand names and trademarks in creating derivative products
"Sell It, Free It," where a company's software products start out their product life cycle as traditional commercial products and then are continually converted to open-source products when appropriate
"Software Franchising," a combination of several of the preceding models (in particular "Brand Licensing" and "Support Sellers") in which a company authorizes others to use its brand names and trademarks in creating associated organizations doing custom software development in particular geographic areas or vertical markets, and supplies franchises with training and related services in exchange for franchise fees of some sort

Niku open sourcing their Workbench project managemet software (this one they got from acquisition). This is surely a good offensive strategy to counter Primavera on one hand and MS Project on the other hand. With PM software becoming absolute commodity this move wasn't surprising. Having spent 2 years in a company (current version of that company is Digite) which developed first PM software on the Unix platform I am glad there is finally a enterprise strength PM software in the open source domain. This will free-up lot of good talents who are still slogging over resource scheduling and PERT/CPM algorithms trying to eke out some elusive competitive advantage for their PM software vendors.

Related open source news where JBoss is trying to disrupt lot of proprietary software vendor business models by using the path of acquire-and-then-open-source-it.

JBoss is looking specifically to open-source, standards-based integration software, called an enterprise service bus, and business process management (BPM) software, which is server-based software for automating complex business processes, Bickel said. Currently, enterprise service bus and BPM software are offered by both large commercial software companies and smaller, specialized ones.

Also check out SugarCRM - open source CRM solution. Which from the user interface looks very much like the Salesforce.com

July 19, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hardball manifesto - Play to Win

Lessons from Dell, Toyota and WalMart on the art of relentlessly pursuing competitive advantage -

Focus relentlessly on competitive advantage

Strive for "extreme" competitive advantage

Avoid attacking directly

Exploit people's will to win

Know the caution zone

Read these two posts as well - Change and Fanaticism. Together they drive home the hard message of our times that the massive structural changes, extreme competitiveness and the need to exhibit higher level of obsession required on the part of entrepreuners to succeed.

July 19, 2004 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Software That Lasts 200 Years

Dan Bricklin has a thoughtful essay on how one should go about building a software which is everlasting much like civil engineering discipline. This requires new style of development (and also the mindset).

Funding for initial development should come from the users

The projects need to be viewed as for more than one customer

The requirements for the project must be set by the users, not the developers. The long-term aspects of the life of the results must be very explicit.

There is the whole issue of data storage and interchange standards that is critical to the long-term success and ability to do migration. Impediments such as intellectual property restrictions and "digital rights management" chokepoints must be avoided

Another critical issue is platform (hardware and software) independence. All development of long-term software needs to be created with the possibility of new hardware, operating systems, and other "computer infrastructure" in mind

The actual development may be done by business entities which are built around implementing such projects, and not around long-term upgrade revenue

The attributes of open source software need to be exploited

The development may be done in-house if that is appropriate, but in many cases there are legal advantages as well as structural for using independent entities

Unlike much of the discussion about open source, serendipitous volunteer labor must not be a major required element

July 19, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BSM confusion

Denis Gaughan from AMR on the confusion created and spread by vendors on promise and scope of the Business Service Management (BSM)

With all the marketing hype surrounding Business Service Management (BSM), you’d think that everyone has a clear understanding of services. But right now, the vendors are too far ahead of the market. By and large, the vendors that market BSM assume that their users’ definition of a service is the same business-centric view that the vendor is pitching. Far too often, we see organizations that implement BSM technology, but they are just essentially re-creating the same granular infrastructure-centric services, simply slapping a pretty dashboard on the same old event console.

His conclusion -
It all starts with your organization’s definition of an IT service. Relying solely on the IT organization to define services will likely lead to services that end users don’t understand or need. Sit down with your business peers to understand what IT services mean to them, and then build services back to IT rather than from IT out to the business.

Though its a required change but I don't see this happening any time soon. IT is increasingly getting centralized where its much easier (process-wise) to throw a definition of "IT service" to the business side. For this definition to come from business or to come with their collaboration we need to bring business much closer to IT both process-wise and technology wise. It's not there yet.

July 19, 2004 in Enterprise software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2004

Using blog for internal training

Just thinking loudly here.

There must be a way to use blogging for training purposes as well. We are a small 10 member team and run into constant need to learn (and sometimes unlearn) technical and business topics. It would be great if leading blogging tools can develop a way to manage a blog post as a piece of training post where comment section can be made extensible to include question/answer section. I am sure there is a way to build a workable structured environment by combining blog and wiki which can act as a training environment. Though it sounds pretty trivial.

Has anybody done something like this? Why re-invent !

July 16, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BPEL - Elevator pitch

Courtesy JJ Dubray this simple explanation of BPEL -

BPEL is a programming language or a set of extensions to existing programming languages that let you write programs and systems that can participate in message driven, asynchronous, long running units of work. This type of code is typically very hard to write or debug, in particular the dehydration/hydration of state, error prone, and difficult to monitor. Now that we live in a connected world, this type of code has become very common if not the norm. As such, BPEL is the programming language of SOA, it has brought consistency, order and elegance in a world of chaos. Today, BPEL can complement existing application models (e.g. J2EE) or be used for EAI applications, for web service compositions and in the near future it will become a key technology of BPM along with choreography languages.

July 16, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2004

Napster for mainstream media

As heard on the Always-On talking-head fest

Blogging is a Napster for the mainstream media

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

July 06, 2004

Lovin' iBook

Joy in becoming a part of the club. Yes I finally succumbed to the ease and beauty of Mac. Bought iBook for my niece and she is loving it too. So now I have personal goal of making sure that every kid in my family has one iBook (even if their uncle has to put in extra hours on the grindstone). Though support in India is still catching up, I wish Apple could do more penetration in India. ibook

And the other thing is - Chacha, what is blogging ? Which I am going to explain by setting their accounts now. This is fun stuff. Though the bandwidth sucks. Earlier in the day I called the cable guy to know details about the broadband connection and to that he replied (rather triumphantly) that nobody in Kanpur has a cable Internet connection. This is really disappointing (and frustrating because my place is just 2km away from the computer center IIT Kanpur , where Media Lab Asia is piloting long distance wireless access for rural populace).

July 6, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2004

Mobiles outstrip India landlines

Cellphone mania continues. BBC reporting that mobile phone number will be outstripping landlines in India. Where 1.5 million Indians are signing up for mobile phones every month.

The trend is seen worldwide: mobiles are outstripping landlines as people by-pass often slow state-run firms to sign up for cheaper cellular services.

In India, rickshaw drivers and domestic servants are among the new users.

Life on the road has become all the more exciting. Previously you have to pray for the road safety and now you have to deal with drivers talking over the cellphone on their two wheelers.
On the positive side, people have more sense of safety in the day to day life. Specially women and thats a great social change.

July 2, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack