The Cloud Pays Off

Cloud Bus.jpeg

So for those of you who thought the cloud only pays if your a consumer of technology who is looking for scalability and flexible pricing models, think again. 


Bloomberg has an interesting article on how Adobe is growing their revenue by billions switching their apps to to the cloud. 


Instead of customers paying a one time purchase price for Creative Suite or Acrobat, now customers must pay for Creative Cloud or Document Cloud subscription fees that may sound small in the beginning, but really add up over time. 


And more than that, Adobe doesn’t have to worry about wowing customers with the next upgrade in order to get them to make another purchase, because as long as their products are competitive, the customers will keep paying their subscriptions fees money month after money month.


What’s better than making a sale to a customer?  Selling to them in a cloud subscription model that keeps paying and paying and paying. 


No wonder it’s better to have your head and technology in the cloud–it’s a true rainmaker! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Acrobatic Fun

Acrobat Acrobats 3 Acrobats 1 Acrobats 2 Acrobats 4

This was a cool show we saw at the Maryland Renaissance Festival this past weekend. 

The show combined some nice acrobatic tricks with a good sense of humor. 

The torture and killing was nasty in the medieval ages, but at least they took the edge off with some daring and showmanship in the joust and on stage. 😉

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Okay For A Drive By

Shooter
So, having grown up in New York, I’ve definitely heard of a drive by shooting, but never a “drive by meeting”. 



Until a colleague asked me, “Okay for a drive by?”



A little taken aback, but I was available (and figured not in any imminent danger by his type of “drive by”), so I agreed to meet for a few minutes. 



The meeting was quick, like a car whizzing by, but we discussed what was needed and accomplished the immediate goal. 



Personally, I prefer when someone is driving the meeting, rather than having a drive by meeting, but we all need to be agile to whatever the day brings. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Materiality of Super Strength Graphene

Scientific researchers in Britain, Norway and the U.S. are bringing us a major breakthrough in material science—by developing a “super strength” substance called graphene.

According to the Guardian (26 December 2012), graphene has “unmatched electrical and physical properties.” It’s made of an “atom-thick sheet of carbon molecules, arranged in a honeycomb lattice,” and promises to revolutionize telecommunications, electronics, energy industries, not to mention the untold applications for the military.

– Conductivity:  Transmits electricity a million times better than copper
– Strength: The strongest material known to humankind, 200 times that of steel (Sciencebuzz)
– Transparency & Flexibility:  So thin that light comes through it; more stretchable than any known conductor of electricity

Just a few of the amazing uses graphene will make possible (some of these from MarketOracle):

– Home windows that are also solar panels—clear off that roof and yard
– TV in your windows and mirrors—think you have information overload now?
– Thinner, lighter, and wrappable LED touch screens around your wrists—everyone can have Dick Tracy style
– Medical implants and organ replacements that can “last disease-free for a hundred years”—giving you that much more time to be a helicopter parent
– Vastly more powerful voice, video and data and palm-size computers—giving the average person the “power of 10,000 mainframes”
– Both larger and lighter satellites and space vehicles—imagine a skyscraper-size vehicle weighing less than your “patio barbecue grill”!
– Tougher and faster tanks and armored personnel carriers with the plus of an invisibility cloak—even “Harry Potter” would be jealous

The potential is truly amazing, so whomever thinks that the best technology is behind us, better think again. Better yet, soon they’ll be able to get a graphene brain implant to help them realize what they’ve been missing. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to University of Maryland)

Work Off Of Standards, But Stay Flexible to Change

Modelt

Interesting book review in the Wall Street Journal (18 January 2012) on Standards: Recipes for Reality by Lawrence Busch.

Standards are a fundamental principle of enterprise architecture, and they can mean many things to different people–they can imply what is normal or expected and even what is considered ethical.

Reading and thinking about this book review helped me to summarize in my own mind, the numerous benefits of standards:

Predictability–You get whatever the standard says you get.

Quality–By removing the deviation and defects, you produce a consistently higher quality.

Speed–Taking the decision-making out of the routine production of standardized parts (i.e. we don’t have to “reinvent the wheel each time”), helps us to move the production process along that much faster.

Economy–Standardizing facilitates mass production and economies of scale lowering the cost of goods produced and sold.

Interoperability–Creating standards enables parts from different suppliers to inter-operate and work seamlessly and this has allowed for greater trade and globalization.

Differentiation–Through the standardization of the routine elements, we are able to focus on differentiating other value-add areas for the consumer to appeal to various tastes, styles, and genuine improvements.

While the benefits of standards are many, there are some concerns or risks:

Boring–This is the fear of the Ford Model-T that came in only one color, black–if we standardize too much, then we understate the importance of differentiation and as they say “variety is the spice of life.”

Stagnation–If we over-standardize, then we run the risk of stifling innovation and creativity, because everything has to be just “one way.”

Rigidity–By standardizing and requiring things like 3rd-party certification, we risk becoming so rigid in what we do and produce that we may become inflexible in addressing specific needs or meeting new requirements.

The key then when applying standards is to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks.

This requires maintaining a state of vigilance as to what consumers are looking for and the corollary of what is not important to them or what they are not keen on changing. Moreover, it necessitates using consumer feedback to continuously research and develop improvements to products and services.  Finally, it is important to always be open to introducing changes when you are reasonably confident that the benefits will outweigh the costs of moving away from the accepted standard(s).

While it’s important to work off of a standard, it is critical not to become inflexible to change.

(Source Photo: here)

Now That’s Flexible

This couch should be the poster child for flexibility.Absolutely incredible.

It weights about 40 lbs and extends like an accordian in just about any configuration you can imagine.

One minute it’s a chair, a bench, a love seat, a couch–it’s straight, curvy, a circle–it’s short, it’s long–whatever you want.

This is what we should aim for–whether it’s with technology, leadership, or life–flexibility to meet the needs of the occasion.

Like this couch–be flexible and adaptable yet stable and reliable–and you will amaze!

>Staying Open to Open Source

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I don’t know about you, but I have always been a pretty big believer that you get what you pay for.

That is until everything Internet came along and upended the payment model with so many freebies including news and information, email and productivity tools, social networking, videos, games, and so much more.

So when it comes to something like open source (“free”) software, is this something to really take seriously for enterprise use?

According to a cover story in ComputerWorld, 10 May 2010, called “Hidden Snags In Open Source” 61% say “open source has become more acceptable in enterprises over the past few years.” And 80% cited cost-savings as the driving factor or “No. 1 benefit of open-source software.”

However, many companies do not want to take the risk of relying on community support and so “opt to purchase a license for the software rather than using the free-of-charge community version…to get access to the vendor’s support team or to extra features and extensions to the core software, such as management tools.”

To some degree then, the license costs negates open source from being a complete freebie to the enterprise (even if it is cheaper than buying commercial software).

The other major benefit called out from open source is its flexibility—you’ve got the source code and can modify as you like—you can “take a standard install and rip out the guts and do all kinds of weird stuff and make it fit the environment.”

The article notes a word of caution on using open source from Gartner analyst Mark Driver: “The key to minimizing the potential downside and minimizing the upside is governance. Without that you’re shooting in the dark.”

I think that really hits the target on this issue, because to take open source code and make that work in a organization, you have got to have mature processes (such as governance and system development life cycle, SDLC) in place for working with that code, modifying it, and ensuring that it meets the enterprise requirements, integrates well, tests out, complies with security, privacy and other policies, and can be adequately supported over its useful life.

If you can’t do all that, then the open source software savings ultimately won’t pan out and you really will have gotten what you paid for.

In short, open source is fine, but make sure you’ve got good governance and strong SDLC processes; otherwise you may find that the cowboys have taken over the Wild West.