Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Data Security

Then one day end-users discovered that they couldn’t log in. We rushed to the server room and found the monitor riddled with error messages. We tried rebooting, but the server complained endlessly about this missing .DLL and that corrupt file. Even worse, it wouldn’t let us copy those files from the installation disks. After finding some files on the backup tapes and downloading others from the Net, we got it to boot into Windows and run the database server. But it was ugly. No support, remember?

Then it dawned on me. I looked at my boss and said, “Did you see a firewall?”

“Firewall?” he said, looking troubled.

We looked hard. No firewall. The server was connected directly to the Internet, public IP and all, with no firewall as protection.

Read More at InfoWorld.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Business Models

Here's a collection of links that talk about the various flavors of business model definitions that I found very useful:

1. A business model checklist
2. Business Model, Schmizness Model (a terrific image, courtesy Peter Rip)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Blogging for Business

Ran into Anil Dash of Six Apart fame last week and we got into a conversation about business blogging and the resistance towards this in general.

What we talked about and somewhat agreed on is that enterprise blogging is all about deployment and management by an IT person, not just by the user who is the "business". While this may seem insignificant, this is huge in terms of who gets to install it, run it and maintain it. Standards and supportability come in the door. The other issue is the bottleneck-is-usually-at-the-top syndrome; without the blessings of powers-that-be (or atleast a fundamental recognition of the need) this thing has a small chance in taking off.

I've been trying for a while now to get WordPress installed in my enterpise to no success. The reasons are multitudinous - we dont know wordpress (horror!) to we got it but cant install MySql in the enterprise firewall to you can run it on Oracle but we need to procure more database licenses.

And when I tell them that I can get all of this thing done and get it up and running in 1 hour, they look incredulous; perhaps for good reason - the number of permissions, approvals and other "stuff" that's needed here on the enterprise side to affect a change is truly mindboggling.

Which leads me to the real question - will enterprise blogs really ever reach critical mass? Will IT consider this as a strategic investment just like say SAP?

Here's a decent article from "the undersigned" why blogging for business makes sense.

Why blog?

Business blogs can be a good choice for both large and small companies - most companies already have a profile on the internet, but especially smaller companies are struggling to get visitors, and have serious problems reaching people interested in their field of business. Start a blog and use various ping services to reach out to millions of readers all over the world!

  • You know your field of business the best
    To run a company you will have to know what you’re doing - you know your field of business, maybe even be a “guru” on the topic - why wouldn’t you share your knowledge? Why wouldn’t you also be known as the “guru”?
  • Reach more people
    You might already have a news-section on your website, but who is reading it, besides your existing customers? With a blog it is easier to reach new readers!
  • Let your employees compete
    Give each employee a user on the blog, and let them blog about your companies business field too. While they compete on getting most comments, they write better and better content, in your companies best interest.
Read more on "the undersigned"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Understanding the "Net Neutrality" debate for Dummies

by Doc Searls and David W.

The Nutshell

1. The Internet isn't complicated
2. The Internet isn't a thing. It's an agreement.
3. The Internet is stupid.
4. Adding value to the Internet lowers its value.
5. All the Internet's value grows on its edges.
6. Money moves to the suburbs.
7. The end of the world? Nah, the world of ends.
8. The Internet's three virtues:
a. No one owns it
b. Everyone can use it
c. Anyone can improve it
9. If the Internet is so simple, why have so many been so boneheaded about it?
10. Some mistakes we can stop making already

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What if MS designed the iPod?

Its all in the packaging. Apparently this video was made by a consulting firm responsible for MS package designing. It's interesting to see why we are completely oversaturated with junk messages...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Interesting MS Video

In People-Ready Overview the manager discovers that not having the necessary tools really caused his firm to suffer. The reality is that this is only a part of the problem... appreciation of the uses of technology is the other. Handing a loaded shot gun is not enough, you need to know how to use it!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

INSIGHT webinar series

Larry Weber has some fantastic insights into the evolution of Marketing, and the impact of new media.

Note: Registration Reqd.


by Rebecca Edgerton

Communicate. The paramount skill here is listening. Second is giving credit and admitting fault—hand-in-hand with honesty and tact. And I believe that laughter is the lubrication that keeps communication rolling along.

Guide. My management approach used to be to tell. My sentences started with “Do this,” “You better,” and “You must.” Today, I rarely tell. Instead, I coach through open questions. Most sentences now start with “What” and “Why” and “How.” I pity the people in the 1970s who suffered through my early management outbursts. Somehow, over the years, I learned the value of open hand instead of closed fist. Today it's clear: The best managers guide people to solutions through coaching and mentoring. A very quick primer about those topics:

Coaching is guiding through questioning, and it focuses on solving a defined problem. A coach helps someone shape a solution by harvesting ideas from that person. The questions are the stimulant that stirs the person's thought process. As everyone knows, the best solution to someone's problem is the one he or she designs and believes in.

Mentoring is longer term guidance that sets direction for a protégé, such as future career focus. It works through a process of discussion, negotiation, definition of actions, action by the protégé, and feedback that leads to new discussion.

Negotiate. This is the best route to win-win. Only through negotiation can the manager discover the real agenda behind project assignments, deadlines, budgets, and so on. The key here is openness and willingness to delve for clear definition of requirements. Negotiation is essential to managing expectations. It's also essential for handling conflict and delegating effectively.

Respond. My email inbox is both my bane and my bounty. On many days, it collects more than a hundred emails. My phone also demands attention, and people often stop by to ask for five or ten minutes. So prioritization is the key. A person in my office always takes precedence, then a phone call, and then an email—unless I have a scheduled commitment elsewhere. So when I talk to people, the phone should go on “make busy.” When I'm on one line, I rarely click over to the other line to see who's calling. And I've turned off the email beep because it was just a distraction. But it's also important to clean out my email inbox and clear my phone messages every day. Even a brief response is better than nothing. Every exchange is an opportunity.

Monitor. Compliance with production stats, quality benchmarks, budgets, and schedules is always necessary. These factors shape internal and external clients' opinions about services or products. As Ernest Bramah said, “A reputation for a thousand years may depend upon the conduct of a single moment.”

Nurture. People like face time with their managers. They also appreciate a bit of personal exchange about kids, hobbies, and more. If every communication is task-focused, little relationship is built. People often report that a good relationship with their manager is a huge incentive. This interaction also allows the manager to watch for creativity and ripeness for promotion; to identify the person's motivations and hot buttons; and to check for stress, confusion, or frustration.

Encourage. Everyone has down days, weeks, and even more. Everyone has projects that drag and goals that seem to fall by the wayside. By knowing an employee's motivations, the manager can provide person-focused encouragement or incentive.

Educate. A strong leader teaches and learns something at least once a day.

Brainstorm. Brainstorming with employees is one of the best ways to identify their development opportunities. It's ideal for seeing how someone's mind works. Brainstorming is an open environment in which anything goes. It is a nurturing and safe activity that gives people instant validation for their ideas through the momentum of enthusiasm. Good brainstorming continuously builds on ideas and is agile enough to turn sharp corners. Good brainstorming is learned by example. My, what a segue to the next point!

Model. I don't believe it's necessary for a manager to be able to do everything that the employees do (you might disagree, but that's another topic). However, it is essential for the manager to model every behavior that he or she expects from the group. Leadership isn't just words or actions—it's also facial expressions, appropriate use of humor, support for top-down decisions, and consistent and suitable optimism. In other words, a leader must manage the subtext beneath his or her words. The best way to do that is to believe in what you're doing. If you don't, then it's time for reflection and possibly time to find another venue.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ex-Sun exec lambasts Sun's late layoffs | CNET

John Shoemaker comments on Sun(the complete version here):

Sun's reduction-in-force actions were too little, too late

"This single failure to make a tough decision to reduce headcount at Sun was, I believe, the critical event that precipitated Sun's now infamous decline," Shoemaker said.

"Pivotal among (Sun's) missteps, in my opinion, was the board of directors election to allow Sun's COO, Ed Zander, to leave. Ed Zander is a strong executive leader with a brilliant strategic and marketing mind," Shoemaker said.

Shoemaker also criticized expensive choices at Sun, such as the Santa Clara, Calif., company's $4.1 billion acquisition of StorageTek, which came to $3 billion once cash is factored out.

Sun's Java software initiative was costly, too, he said, employing more than 4,000 developers to create a product adopted by IBM and other competitors.

At the same time, the market shifted to buying large numbers of low-end servers--often running Linux...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Powerpoint - Do's and Dont's

Collection of some great atricles I've read so far:

10/20/30 rule: Guy K
Bona tempora volvantur--by Guy Kawasaki: The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

Breaking the habit:Dharmesh Shah

we need an alternative to Powerpoint! Entrepreneurs of the world - help! And be sure to follow read the articles above when you pitch your biz case in PPT :)

Monday, April 03, 2006

HOWTO: streamline sales structure in a complex organization

This link (subscription reqd) talks about HP's Mark Hurd making the changes necessary to streamline a sales structure:

Eliminate unnecessary layers, clarify accountability
Thus began one of Mr. Hurd's biggest management challenges: overhauling H-P's vast corporate sales force. Last July, Mr. Hurd eliminated a sales group that sold a broad portfolio of H-P's products. He divvied up the workers among H-P's PC, printing and corporate-technology businesses to give the salespeople a chance to master the specific products they sell.

Specialization means better sales

H-P's corporate salespeople were responsible for hawking a broad portfolio of products and typically didn't specialize in any one product area. They reported to a group that operated independently of H-P's product-based business units. As a result, the three units also had little control of the sales process -- even though a big part of their budget went to the sales group.

Change compensation structure to include revenues AND MARGINS!!

In November, Mr. Hurd changed how H-P salespeople are compensated. Sales commissions were linked to how much revenue the sales teams generated. But, with his eye on the bottom line, Mr. Hurd also linked commissions to the profitability of the products sold. At the same time, H-P directed salespeople to use just one type of software from Oracle Corp. to track the sales pipeline. That move enabled Mr. Hurd and other executives to get an uncluttered view into the sales deals being chased at any one time.

Limit number of accounts, especially the named accounts

H-P narrowed the number of sales accounts that each salesperson was tied to, with the goal that each person would call on three or fewer accounts.

Consistency in collaboration process

...[conference calls] they occur every Monday, so salespeople could be on the road meeting customers the rest of the week.
From Gizmodo:

We Heart Apple, Bose, and Dell - Gizmodo

Forrester Research has discovered that the top three “trustworthy” electronics manufacturers were Apple, Bose, and Dell. Microsoft scored lowest in both perceived growth and trustiness while Sony is floating somewhere in the middle.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Michael Goldhaber's work is stuff to pay attention to!

The Attention Economy: The Natural Economy of the Net