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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2008 04:30
Third he claims that the media took a narrow survey and implied broad implications for quality with high-level coverage.  This is somewhat true, and, well, what mainstream media does.  And what Carr did with his first claim.  But the articles did link to the actual study.
Ross is fact checking Carr who is fact checking Wikipedia in what appears to be a drawn out mission to discredit it as a reference source. Okay Nick, we get it... you don't like Wikipedia, think it's flawed. Got it, move along.

Two things bothered me about the Carr post, first it would have been better in the discussion pages that are attached to every Wikipedia entry, and secondly, he didn't provide any links to the source material he is quoting.


Technorati Tags: Wikipedia, Carr
Author: "jeff"
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2008 00:56

Stefan Schulz works for Shai Agassi in what is loosely described as a special projects group. I've know Stefan for a long time and on one of his recent trips to Palo Alto he took the time to show me a system that his group had built for managing our employee alumni networks. Now what is interesting about this system is that it not intended to manage company alumni networks but rather our employee's university alumni networks.

At first I  thought that it was  interesting but I couldn't quite figure out what the value of it to SAP was, however then I had the ah-ah  moment when I started looking at the profiles of the people in the system. There is a lot of detail about not only where you went to school and what you studied, but the areas of research that they worked on or have interest in.

I can't link to the system because it's internal only, but I will give you this screenshot of it to give you a sense of what they are doing. Amazingly, they already have 5,087 profiles accumulated, about 16% of our total employee population.

In another corner of our SAP Labs group is a team called "Design Services" and they are working on a bunch of really interesting projects, but one in particular caught my attention. It's called Harmony and it loosely described as a "Friendster or LinkedIn for enterprises". I don't know if this will ever be a product we offer but they are certainly intending to build it into our internal systems because one of the most significant challenges anyone in a large company faces is finding people who have worked on similar things as you, or have a background that is particularly relevant to a project or team.

On a related note, be sure to read this article about the work that SAP is doing in search technology.

I have said many times before that blogs, wikis, search, and social software are the new base platform for enterprise knowledge management. This isn't an earth shaking prediction, it is rather obvious given the failures of traditional KM solutions, and also reflect a continuation of the trend of consumer technology crossing over into the enterprise.

All of this is exciting for me because it signals attention being devoted to improving the way that people work together - collaborate - as opposed to simply improving the way a business process functions. The easy group forming attributes of blogs and wikis, along with the information retrieval capabilities of good search are force multiplied when you can rapidly bring together people in your company based on project requirements, experience, academic backgrounds, and peer recomendations.


Technorati Tags: social+software, blogs, wikis, search, SAP, knowledge+management

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

This is a little late, but I wanted to post it anyways. Mike's 5th TechCrunch party on Friday night was a great time. With at least 400 people in attendance you just knew it was going to be a fun time. However, how many house parties have you gone to that have corporate sponsors, live product demos, podcasting, and a slew of really connected always on people?

The new dyanmics of product launch, company pr, and brand building are exactly what is embodied in Mike's parties. They are the unconference conference, blending a high degree of accessibility to the participants in a peer-to-peer environment with demonstrations of evolving technologies, and finally, an enjoyable social environment. What makes this possible is the easy group forming capabilities that blogs and wikis bring to bear. Make no mistake about it, in spite of it being a house party there is a lot of business going on.

Thanks to Mike and the extended circle of people who pulled this together, it was a great time.

Technorati Tags: TechCrunch

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Map Builder is a site I found that enables you to do your own Google or Yahoo! map mashups. While clearly not for the "average" web user, this is still a pretty low barrier capability that enables a wide spectrum of people to take advantage of something that would previously have either cost them a lot of money or required significantly deeper capabilities.


Technorati Tags: mapbuilder, web2, mashups

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Zoli posted an awesome summary of the TiE event I spoke at last week on Web2 in the enterprise. He was also kind enough to put up the notes on Writely for review before posting, but to be honest I just didn't have time on Friday to do it so I'm pleased that he posted it anyways. In reading it through I think it fairly reflects the evening, I will post any followup in the comments. Zoli, thanks for doing this.

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Sweet! I have my own personal version of Megite. I've been using the general service for about a week, I'll try my personal version for a couple of days to see how it works. Thanks to Mathew Chen for setting me up.


Technorati Tags: megite

Author: "jeff"
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PHP   New window
Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Tim Bray has an interesting post on PHP, which actually gets interesting in the updates (which he appends to from email because he doesn't have comments, pity). When SAP did the Zend investment a lot of time was spent on the technical due diligence. The slap on PHP has always been that it's a scripting language trying to be a "grown up" development language... you often hear this from older developers or, for lack of a better term, technology snobs.

Using Python as a contrast there are some distinct disadvantages that PHP has, like:

  • Python can be run outside of a web server as a separate process, PHP can't
  • indententation makes for easy-to-read code, and if you have ever looked at PHP code you know what I mean
  • PHP has a much larger core than Python
  • method chaining and multiple inheritance in Python, don't have that in PHP
  • lots of data types
  • differentiation between array types (lists and dictionaries) in Python
  • references are difficult in PHP
  • namespaces and modules in Python
The list goes on and in all fairness PHP has some distinct advantages as well, like the fact that it is very easy to get started with because it's more forgiving than competing languages (e.g. globals used to pass arguments, all variables are "set").

In the end, the strength of PHP for the investment decision came down to the fact that there were so many developers using it on so many websites. Community, it's increasingly coming down to the community and not the technology.

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

I think I still have my Troll, although he hasn't posted any displays of his cutting mastery of the English language lately. I hope he didn't run away... please come back Troll. Hopefully this site will lure him back if anything for the juvenile pleasure of vandalizing my blog. Via Scoble

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

I'm a fan of business plans, although like every other rational and sane person I hate writing them. One of the things that I proposed and implemented for SAP Ventures was the notion of doing a comprehensive investment memorandum to support every new investment that was proposed. It was a large document, up to 40 pages, that chronicled every aspect of the deal being proposed, and in the end it very much reflected the intentions of a business plan, to lay out all of the moving parts of the business and understand them like a working model. Sure, I hated writing these damn documents as much as everyone else on the team, but the exercise of writing them sharpened my thinking greatly.

It was surprising to me to see how many variations of the basic business plan someone could create. Typically, this exercise gets little attention in the modern startup because 1) "we're different", 2) "there's still too many holes that we need to fill, or my favorite 3) "we didn't want to put the energy into writing something that really would not be used". Too bad, writing a solid business plan is an exercise that pays out far more than you put into it, here's a proposed template. Link via Anthony.

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Okay, I've come to the conclusion that the only way I can get my traffic fully moved over to my new site is to stop posting on the typepad site. On March 1st I will abandon this site for good, up until then I will continue to post on both sites and will post a nag every couple of days reminding you to come on over to www.jeffnolan.com.

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Andy Hayler has a post on criteria and methods for evaluating vendors and it reminded me of something we used to do (and may still do, I really don't know) for managing the process of evaluating customer requests for new features. The idea was simple, each customer has 100 votes (I don't remember what the exact formula was for determing the number of votes you had) they can use, if they have 100 features they would like they could put in 100  feature requests with 1 vote each, however if they had just 2 feature requests and one was critical and the other a nice-to-have they could put the critical request in with 90 votes and the other in with just 10. The point is that you had 100 votes that you could use in a weighted fashion.

An important thing about using a weighting system like this one is that the weights must add up to 100.
The point here is that it forces you to make trade-offs: you can have
an extra functional criteria, but you must reduce the existing weights
to make sure that the weights still add to 100. This gives the
discipline to stop everything being" essential".

This is a good methodology for evaluating vendors, products, or any purchase for that matter


Technorati Tags: enterprise+software

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Henry Wong from Diamond TechVentures sent me this invite to a wireless strategy forum being hosted at Pillsbury Winthrop on 3/8. Looks interesting.

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what the benefits of a pure SOA application framework are. While the technical benefits are important, of equal interest are the actual end-user business benefits for companies investing in this technology. Here's a short off-the-top-of-my-head start to kick off the discussion.

  1. less disruptive updates and upgrades
  2. new functional components developed quickly and with less risk than previous monolithic application releases. In other words adding a compliance function is less likely to break something somewhere else that is unrelated to the compliance function
  3. greater third party ISV support which translates into comprehensive vertical app development
  4. higher performance environment that better utilizes hardware and network resources
  5. flatter learning curve for users because applications can be broken up and delivered as function streams that directly overlay to their needs as opposed to getting everything in one app

Technorati Tags: SOA, ESA, enterprise+software

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

I was thinking that the title of Jeremy's post should be "how to make sure everyone reads your post" but it's certainly better the way it is now. On a serious note, it is interesting to watch how aggressively PR people have figured out blogs.

I was talking to Mike Masnick a couple of weeks ago and he had a cool new cell phone, told me that vendors are sending them to him in the hopes he'll write about them. Ross has the same thing happening to him. Hell, I'm just getting free books! My post last week was a thinly veiled attempt to get some free gear... maybe I should start writing about xbox360 games!


Technorati Tags: blogs, pr

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

I had a board of directors meeting last night for KIPP Bayview Academy, which for me is a fun board because it's smaller than most and has a nice social element to it (everyone is around the same age, no egos, nice people). In one of the crosstalk conversations a comment was made about Zappos.com and all of the women in the room immediately started talking about how great this site is.

What was interesting to observe was that they didn't talk about any of the features of the site, and selection was only briefly commented on; what really made this a great service was the customer service and the community that they have built around it, the "buyer's favorites" is an good example of this.

This reminded me that many technology-enabled companies forget that they are ultimately in the customer service business and if they don't get that right then everything else is academic and suboptimized.

BTW, I asked a random selection of women in my office today if they had heard of this site... not only did every one of them know it, they were all customers. I may look out-of-the-loop for not knowing this site, but we never invested in specialty retail and I'm not a frequent shoe shopper so you'll have to give me a little lattitude.

PS- a quick search shows that Matt wrote about this a couple of weeks ago.

PPS- and while I'm on Matt's post, Sand Hill Slave is a great blog on the venture business.

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Everyday I get at least 5 or 6 "web buyer guides" from Ziff Davis in my inbox. I have never (ever) read one of them and it pisses me off because I get so much crap. So I did what any rational person would do, I scrolled to the bottom of the email and clicked on the "unsubscribe" link (which is another mystery because I never in a million years would actually subscribe to get any offers of any kind from anyone.)


You have been successfully removed from the Web Buyer's Guide White Paper Update newsletter.
This change will be reflected in the next 48 hours.

So first of all, why do they need 48 hours to update the change? Shouldn't it be like 48 seconds at most? BTW, I've done this every day for a week so the 48 hours bit is pure bullshit, they just don't unsubscribe you period.

The odd thing is that you can then go into their "subscribers center" where you think you are unsubscribing to their newsletters but the minute you put your email in and update you get subscribed to a bunch of other newsletters. You only discover this by going back into the subscriber center. Sneaky bastards.

I have another solution for unscribing, I just added ziffdavis.com and webbuyersguide.com to my spam filter.

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Holy crap, Roger Moore is 78 YEARS OLD! That must mean Connery is like 187. BTW, I dislike all the Bond movies featuring Moore, they were too over-to-top with the gadgets and Moore comes across as a dork. Moonraker was a real laugher, but Octopussy wasn't that bad. I also liked the early Bond films when the opposition was S.P.E.C.T.R.E., as opposed simply the Soviets, and the Bond girls were always better in the Connery films as well. Don't have an opinion on the newest Bond, but if it were me writing the story I'd do what they did with Batman in the newest movie and make him a little dark and flawed. They gotta go back to the roots with Bond, enough with the political correctness and the flashy gadgetry. Favorite Bond movie of all would have to be Thunderball.

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

CoComment has opened up their service to everyone, I've been using it for awhile and it's growing on me. I really like the capability of having an rss feed for all of the blogs I comment in.

After less than 2 weeks of operating as a closed Beta, the coComment service is now fully open!


Technorati Tags: cocomment

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

Larry Barbetta was unable to come to terms with Oracle on a new contract and has left the company. Larry, as many of you know, was running Siebel's analytics group and was slotted to run the combined Oracle business unit for analytics. Chuck Phillips will make the internal announcement today about Larry leaving, if not already.

Author: "jeff"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 14:08

This is not technology related at all, but I did think back to the Google China episode a few weeks back when I read this op-ed in the Post today. What irritated me then was watching Google resist subpeonas from the DOJ for non-private information (keywords and URL's) on pornography one week, and not even a full week later saying that censoring speech in order to do business in China was okay by them.

As I have witnessed the Cartoon Jihad unfold across the globe I am reminded of the same level of hypocrisy in the major media outlets. In the same week the Mohammed cartoons blows up, Rolling Stone is running a cover with some rap star dressed up like Jesus at the Cruxification. How is it that the media holds itself to a high standard of sensitivity to Islam but not to Christianity?

Of course it's really not about Christianity vs. Islam at all, but something more profound and it's rooted in a pandering to one part of the world while expecting something more from another... not at all unlike Google acting as an agent of the Chinese government while at the same time being indifferent to the U.S. government.

While we may disagree among ourselves about whether and when the public
interest justifies the disclosure of classified wartime information,
our general agreement and understanding of the First Amendment and a
free press is informed by the fact -- not opinion but fact -- that
without broad freedom, without responsibility for the right to know
carried out by courageous writers, editors, political cartoonists and
publishers, our democracy would be weaker, if not nonexistent. There
should be no group or mob veto of a story that is in the public
interest.

Author: "jeff"
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