Tom The Architect

Technology and other Interesting Stuff

Category: Technology

Data Trumps Everything

When Apple released its mapping application for iOS it confirmed what many big data evangalists had been preaching, Data Trumps Everything.(eventually)

Best design, worthless without data.

Sophisticated Software, worthless without data.

While Apple won the first round in the mobile platform wars using world class design and excellent user experience, they have shown the gap in their strategy, their Achilles heal. The rapidly  approaching next generations of personal computing will be built on a foundation Hardware and software differentiated with DATA.

This reality was made even more visible at the Gartner  Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit, during a Keynote interview of Michael Abbott,  a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Mr. Abbott expressed concern about the walled gardens of data (read Google, twitter, Facebook)  becoming significant barriers to competition and innovation.

Michael Abbot is exactly right. The next innovations, as we move to a cognitive economy, will require access to data, massive amounts of data. Scale and access will become huge advantages and barriers. Start-up organizations will be hard pressed to innovate without having access to these sources of data.  While some innovative companies will be able to create ways to collect and build their own reservoirs of data, others will have to partner to gain access.  But the bottom line is excellent hardware and software are table stakes in the cognitive economy, but data will be the coin of the realm.

In the case of Apple Maps, it is hard to believe Apple would ever catch Google. Google has long held an advantage with search and it’s velocity of innovation and improvement are difficult to match. Apple would have to exceed the rate at which Google is innovating and collecting data. With the ever increasing population of google powered devices it doesn’t look good for Apple.

Steve Yegge on Presenting to Jeff Bezos

Steve Yegge over in his Google+ feed has a post I just found about his experience presenting to Jeff Bezos. His description of the experience and his approach was great. The entire post is interesting but my favorite part is the second to last paragraph.

You have to understand: most people were scared around Bezos because they were waaaay too worried about trying to keep their jobs. People in high-level positions sometimes have a little too much personal self-esteem invested in their success. Can you imagine how annoying it must be for him to be around timid people all day long? But me — well, I thought I was going to get fired every single day. So fuck timid. Might as well aim high and go out in a ball of flame.

We all have seen the timid presentation, that’s why I like the last lines so very much (my emphasis added).  Read the whole post you will enjoy it.

The Evolution of Advertising in 5 Minutes

Kevin Rose interviews Chris Sacca of lower case capital and Chris gives a great interview. I recommend you watch the whole thing. But, to hear the best explanation of how advertising has evolved and why services like Twitter, Foursquare and Square are so valuable. The explanation starts at 34 Min.

If you like this interview you might also like Chris Sacca on This Week in Start-ups

Enjoy!

 

Google Gets the future Cognitive Economy

I have long explained to people the value of the data corporations collect. I have seen first hand the value of large pools of correlated, linked, behavior generated data and as Tim O’Reilly points out in his post so does Google.

My favorite definition of Cognitive** is:

Having a basis in or reducible to empirical factual knowledge.

The key part of the definition as it relates to Tim’s post and Google is “Having a Basis in or reducible to” . I also like “empirical”. Cognition requires data and lots of it. Algorithms are secondary to the data for without the data there is nothing.

Google is just a stalking horse for the coming cognitive economy, there are many other players less public and less chic that are working to exploit the coming opportunities.

**”cognitive.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 18 Dec. 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/cognitive

Look out here comes the Nokia based Google Phone

Google releases Google Maps for Symbian Devices. Just more Fuel for my earlier post about the ideal combination of Nokia and Google. It is probably my wishful thinking but it has a great deal of potential.

My twitter Wishlist

Here are two Twitter bots I would love to see:

  • Google search history bot posts at random my search queries every hour or so.
  • FedEx tracking bot send it the tracking number and it twitters the location of your package.

One of many truths about Silicon Valley

This in my experience is a very accurate description of Silicon Valley via The New York Times:

Mr. Hettig, the estate planning lawyer, sums it up for many: “We’re in such a rarefied environment,” he said, “people here lose perspective on what the rest of the world looks like.”

Social Media and the ERP

Over at gapingvoid Hugh MacLeod posts about a set of questions he received from a friend about social media. I found all the questions and responses interesting. The one one question and response that stood out was #10:

10. Additional Comments?

One more thought, which pertains directly to your client. I firmly believe that the line that separates social media and ERP is going to start getting VERY blurry, and really soon. I can see a not-to-distant future where even the larger ERP solutions are built around social software, not the other way around. And I can see that day arriving in under five years. We live in interesting times.

Sorry, Hugh but I think your are a bit off on this one. Sure ERP vendors will start offering social software as part of their solutions in the next 5 years. But think about from the view point of the folks in the market for ERP solutions. That group of people have driven large ERP vendors to provide guarantees that versions of their ERP solutions will be viable for at least 5 years. The market requires ERP vendors provide these guarantees due to significant costs of major upgrades. So, the adoption cycle for existing customers will drive the adoption of radically different ERP solutions beyond your 5 year horizon. Now I agree that the principles and techniques that have driven the adoption of social software in the consumer market will be adopted over time in enterprises of all sizes.

The reality is that enterprises today are just now getting platforms that enable them to realize visions of Michael Hammer and the like. ERP solutions are complex animals that could never be built around social software. What I believe is that social software coupled with process re-engineering will create huge efficiencies and value for enterprises. All this is dependent on a well abstracted ERP platform, in simple terms it will be all about services (API). Social software has a long way to go before dealing with things like GAAP, complex logistics, Financial reporting, transactional integrity, inventory management, production planning, global regulation, process execution, the list goes on and on. I believe social software has the power to make all these things more efficient and effective.

ERP platforms will remain the core of enterprises for years to come. The smart enterprises and vendors will have ERPs with comprehensive and integrated social software. ERPs will become like utility services doing very complex and important things, social software will create information liquidity, efficiency and transparency within and across business processes.

The saddest RSS feed ever

The Department of Defense News Releases feed allows technology to present a view of the the Iraq War that news does not. This feed contains the public press releases of the names of the casulties in Iraq and Afghanistan. I for one find this feed to be filled with nothing but loss and sorrow. I consume a fair number of RSS feeds and this is one feed that makes all others trivial.

If you are anti-war here is a feed of information that only motivates one to fight for an end even harder.

If you are supportive of the Iraq war you should subscribe to this feed to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the impacts of your support.

A feed that pains my heart to read.

Can you serve others better than you serve yourself

I have thought about this a great deal. The degrees of abstraction are endless. I have thought about it from a systematic perspective, from a social perspective, from a business perspective and so on. The answer I come to consistently is NO. Now let me explain.

The guiding point is: You cannot serve others any better than you serve yourself. I am not saying, if I want my friend to have a nice car, I must first have a nice car. Nope, what I am saying is, if I want my friend to have a nice car, I must first have the ability to give a nice car. At a personal level the actions we take that define us, are the foundations of our interactions with others. The personal side goes down a deep meta rabbit hole and is best left for another time.

The part that is more plain is from a business and systematic perspective. I had previously written “A provider cannot deliver a continuity of experience greater than the continuity of experience the provider has internally.”

You cannot manage a customers inventory any better than you can manage your own (definitely if you are using the same systems, people, and processes).

Do you think Ford could build cars for toyota better than they could build Fords, uh Nope.

Do you think that the U.S. can run a country any better than we run the U.S., uh Nope, just look at Puerto Rico (Usually worse).

If you have variability in your business process when you share those processes with your customer, guess what they get the same degree of variability.

If your email system sucks when you use it, it will suck when you host it out for your customers to use.

Do you think that Google employees have better mail services than Gmail users, I bet they do, but all services being equal I bet its darn close.

The reality is the systems, people and processes we use internally will never generate better results just because your using them on someone’s behalf.