Friday, January 15, 2010

On mobile phones and standards

Today I received a new mobile phone, since one of our family's mobile phone was broken, we did some shifting around, and it was my turn to get a new one. Starting to work with it was somewhat frustrating, I found myself in unknown territory, although it was produced by the same vendor of the old phone, they did not succeed to move the ringtones from my previous phone (although I purchased them in their store), since there is no standard for ringtones and each instrument represents it differently so they gave me a credit to get free ringtones from their store. They succeeded to move the list of my contact persons (there is a standard for that), but not the different groups defined for the contact person (no standard), the user interface is totally different, and requires some learning and more.

I have changed laptops several times in the last few years, and the transition was smooth, everything just worked -- no need to study anything new.

In our world of event processing we are not in better shape then in mobile phones, actually we are worse. In the event processing course that I have been teaching this semester, the students had a task to study six languages (each team has its own languages) and on Monday they will present the result of their experiments. I thought about it when struggling with the phone, if one of them was in the team that studied language X in the course, and tomorrow they find themselves working with another language, this might be somewhat confusing for them. In the course I am teaching our building block approach, which is valid for all languages. Working with standard oriented software is easier, we still have a challenge here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Requiem to a small yellow cat

The small yellow cat adopted by my daughter a year ago passed away today. Eight days ago we realized he is sick and took him to the veterinary clinic, where they diagnosed that he was attacked by a violent virus, which his immune system could not handle. We were told that he'll probably last for 2 months or so, but it seems that this has been over-estimate. He had short life, only a little more than a year, but had a good life relative to his peers that live in the street. I have never been a cat fan, but over the last year he became part of the family, and was very attached to Hadas, my third daughter, he was very sad every time she has been away from home for a few days. For some strange reason the battery in my watch went dead at the same time he died, and my watch stopped. I have already replaced the battery, replacing a living creature will be more difficult, but we might adopt a new kitten after my daughter will get over...

Monday, January 11, 2010

More on intrapreneuring

This picture is taken from a NY Times article entitled "who says innovation belongs to the small" showing some system developed in IBM Research dealing with traffic analysis, this article was quoted in Mark Palmer's Blog saying that "Big companies can innovate if they act small". Mark is right, I have dealt with intrapreneuring for years, and recently even talked briefly about it in an internal talk I have given to an internal audience in IBM Haifa Research Lab about the internal recoginition we received. In my previous posting about intrapreneuring, I have quoted the original ten commandments that Pinchot, the person invented this term, has established; Mark mentions them in his Blog as well, however, recently I got Pinchot's follow-up book, "Intrapreneuring in action", and found out that he has somewhat changed the 10 commandments, some were changed, and some were changed order (assuming that the order says something on importance", so for all fans of intrapreneuring here are the revised 10 commandments:

1. Remember, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission
2. Do any job needed to make your project work, regardless of your job description
3. Come to work each day willing to be fired
4. Recruit a strong team.
5. Ask for advice before resources.
6. Forget pride of authorship, spread credit widely
7. When you bend the rules, keep the best interests of the company and it customers in mind
8. Honor your sponsors
9. Underpromise and overdeliver
10. Be true to your goals, but realistic about ways to achieve them.

Some comments:
  • The current first commandment has been promoted from being the 8th in the old list; my experience indeed shows that this is the most useful advice.
  • "Recruit a strong team" is new, there was similar one with longer phrasing.
  • "Ask for advice before resources" is also a new one
  • "Forget pride of authorship" is also a new one, emphasizing the team game.
  • #7 is also new one, though I have to say that "best interests" is a very subjective term.
  • #9 is also new.

Some commandments that disappeared. but I thought they are useful:

  • Work underground as long as you can – publicity triggers the corporate immune mechanism.
  • Never bet on a race unless you are running in it.
And still, the immune mechanism of big corporates is not an easy line to cross, I have also been in a small company, it has other issues, however being entrepreneur is definitely easier than being intrapreneur.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

On predictive, anticipative and proactive enterprise

As a skeptic person, I am not a big believer in astrology, but follows it from time to time; twice in my life the astrology predictive for the year for me was that there is going to be career shift in the next year, and twice it really happened, but this is still not a scientific evidence. Anyway, astrology is a kind of prediction source, but there are other sources like business intelligence tools. Richard Veryard in his Blog has recently written that the enterprise need to go beyond predictive, in the sense that the enterprise needs not only to passively predict the future, but also taking action in advance to the future, he used the term: anticipative for this kind of functionality.

First, I agree with the observation. One of the next frontiers is to go beyond predictive from BI point of view, as well as reactive from event processing point of view. I prefer the term proactive rather then anticipative to what Richard has described.

Some comments about the distinctions between predictive and proactive:

  1. predictive typically relates to the strategic level --- watch trends and change the inventory policy; proactive may relate to operative --- anticipate that something in the operative level may happen (e.g. massive water leakage from the pipe infrastructure) and do something to mitigate it.
  2. predictive typically collects data over long period of time, processes it in batch, and apply it periodically, or on request; proactive works in short-term, sometimes with time constraints.
Proactive may be seen as evolution both of BI and of event processing.

More about proactive -- later.