Saturday, November 19, 2011

On the two-second advantage

The last shipment from Amazon has brought me (together with the usual collection of science fiction and fantasy books) the book co-authors by Vivek Ranadive, the founder and CEO of TIBCO.  I purchased this book to try and have some glimpse into what's going on in TIBCO, being one of the major players in the event processing market.  However, this is not a book about TIBCO products, the book is of a type that I would call popular science, making the thesis that people who have been successful in several areas (the first example was Wayne Gretzky, claimed to be the greatest hockey players of all times) recipe of success was their ability to predict something that is about to happen before it actually happens and behave accordingly.  Part I of the book analyzes several such cases in the human case.  Part II of the book talks about the use of the same ideas in computerized systems and its utilization in several areas: making better wine, ending traffic jams, and explaining why nothing should ever break.   In part III the authors talk about the concept of "the two-second advantage" and connecting it to event-driven technologies and claim that it will both make the world better and the human brain better.  The book states a vision, I think that two-seconds is more a metaphor and not real time-interval, because for different scenarios more time ahead is needed, it also does not talk much about how to utilize the two-second advantage, since just knowing about things are just part of the picture.    The idea somehow reminds of the movie NEXT, which actually talks about seeing two minutes into the future. 

On the whole I found the vision in the book quite consistent with our own vision of proactive world, which is a major task I am trying to cope with recently, including the understanding of the cultural change aspect 
In any event - interesting reading; it is refreshing to see that CEO of IT vendor can mentally release himself from daily life to write visionary books, maybe this is an implementation of Steve Jobs' seventh rule - sell dreams not products,

On Steve Jobs' seven rules of success

I have written before about rules and commandments for intrapreneuring.   
This time I would like to bring my an1notated version of Steve Jobs' seven rules of success.  

1.Do what you love  This is probably the most important advice, I see too many people continue with the inertia,  it is always easier to continue then to change, one needs sometimes a courage to change, or to quote somebody else:  "if you get up in the morning and don't go to work with enthusiasm - go somewhere else".  I followed this rule several times in my life, will I have courage to follow it again if needed? 

2. Put a dent in the universe  When I was a beginning programmer in the Israeli Air-Force, and came to my commander with some radical ideas, his amused response was -- "our mission is not to change the world".   Most people think this way, however those who have ambition to change the world are those who have any chance to do it.   There are many pressures, especially today when Wall Street metrics governs the behavior of corporations - I am not sure how much I have succeeded so far to change the world, but it will always be the driving force behind what I am doing, and I try never to lose sight of it.

3. Make connections  The over-specialization of modern life make people narrowly focused. This is good for achieving expertise of a certain area, but making impact on the world requires making connections between seemingly not related things from various disciplines. To make connections one has to do two things:  be broad minded, and explore other areas, and connect with people whose expertise are in other areas and inspire them share the same goal.  None of these are easy.

4, Say no to 1,000 things  This is the art of focus on the right things, as one has finite amount of time and energy.  In Apple it was reduction in amount of products.   In the case of an individual -- try to focus the energy on a single goal, and fight temptations to do something else.  This is a rule that I am well aware, but must admit that I have not completely followed.

5, Create insanely different experiences  Any interaction with other persons is an experience.  Apple had its Apple stores providing different experience,  in the individual level -- the way things are presented and communicated is not less important than the content.  Always tend to (positively) surprise.

6. Master the message  I often see people who try to sell or deliver some message that they don't master, it is easy to confuse them with trivial questions, and their entire message seems confused.  Mastering the message is important, starting with the message to yourself,  if you cannot convince yourself you'll not convince others.

7. Sell dreams, not products  In the IT area, both the buyers and sellers are more interested  in how something fits the architecture, interfacing with other products, and other technical properties, then in what it really does and what is the benefit.      Selling dreams in form of -- let's imagine how you can improve the quality of your life or your business -- is better approach - which makes it necessary to understand the needs and psychology of the customer.

Friday, November 18, 2011

AITE says that vendors need to be more aggressive in marketing event processing

I have not read the recent Aite report entitled: "complex event processing - beyond capital markets",  have to check if IBM subscribes to these reports.  But from the promo page linked here I copied the figure above. It is interesting that the numbers are somewhat different among analysts, but all shows growth.   One insight given in the report is that vendors should be more aggressive about their message, since many customers still don't understand what event processing is -- a challenge both to the vendors and to the community.   One of the challenges we'll work in the EPTS level is to disseminate the event processing manifesto and ideas  more aggressively in 2012 -- stay tuned for announcement in this area. 

The MSc exam of Ella Rabinovich

Yesterday I chaired the MSc exam of Ella Rabinovich, who finished her thesis in joint supervision of Avi Gal (who was my PhD student) and myself.  Looking at my own record, Ella is my 21st MSc graduate, in addition to 6 PhD graduates (one person, David Botzer, has done both MSc and PhD theses under my supervision - so the list comes up to 26 people).    I am doing graduate students supervision as a hobby (the Technion does not pay for it),  it enables to investigate idea that are typically one or two steps ahead from what we are doing in the IBM Haifa Research Lab (which by itself has to be some steps ahead of the markets), Ella works also in our Proton team in IBM,  the thesis deals with pattern rewriting as one of the means of performance improvement in event processing run-time,  I have already written about our DEBS'11 paper on this topic.   the thesis was well accepted by the examination team and got a relative high grade.   My guess is that we'll hear more about notable  research contributions of Ella in the future. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Continuous event processing in Quartet FS

Continuing to survey additional product related to the event processing area, I came across Quartet,   this illustration is taken from Quartet FS' webpage.   Quartet FS advertises its product as "aggregation engine",  from the description it seems to be some incarnation of active database, where the OLAP cube is constantly updated, this variation is useful for some financial services applications.      I guess that we'll discover more event related products coming from different areas within different frameworks (in this case - OLAP/BI).