Monthly Archives: November 2005

Two

Time flies regardless of whether or not you blog, but it’s fun to see the subject matter posted over the past two years.

I’m related to a Photoshop genius

While I’m a proud registered licensee of Photoshop CS2, I’m no match for my younger brother. We’re both architects–he sketches in AutoCAD (i.e. traditional architect) and I sketch in UML (i.e. software architect). He’s never turned me away when I ask for his creative support; in fact, he typically goes beyond the call of duty. Tonight is just one profound example of what I’m talking about.

Witness the following before and after images:

Base photograph - mine

Artistic vision - my brother

Enough said. Thanks, Brent!

P.S. Wait until you see what he cooked up for me come Christmas time. :-)

Too abstract for my own good

It’s clear from reading some of my recent posts why I get a lot of “you’re an abstract thinker” comments–I’m a bit all over the map. Frankly, it’s a struggle I’ve had for awhile, but especially since I started blogging almost two years ago.

How can I effectively capture something of value? How is value to be measured? What is the right balance between the protection abstraction can provide (e.g. no IP or otherwise competitive leaks) and the bewilderness (at best and dismissal at worst) that the same abstractions can generate?

In order to trend toward more measurable value in terms of concrete thinking, I am giving some thought to how to re-categorize my posts, what to focus my posts upon (e.g. series on various subjects of expertise and curiousity) and how to better engage my readers–assuming they all haven’t bailed of late.

While I may still blog primarily as a personal outlet, those that know me, especially professionally, know that I prefer a conversation–the more interactive the better. How can I change the current void of comments without incurring the disease of comment spam? What subjects do you want to hear me address?

These are all still very open questions for me personally. If you have some thoughts on this, I’d love to hear from you.

Consequences of over-serving average customers

Another colleague of mine was kind enough to share with me an article from her required course reading during leadership training, “Skate to Where the Money Will Be.” One of the points the authors make that got my attention was the following statement: “Product performance almost always improves beyond the needs of the general consumer, as companies stretch to meet the needs of the most demanding (and most profitable) customers.” The article goes on to talk about the opportunity that an overserved market presents to those with agile, niche and solutions-oriented product portfolios. It emphasizes the value of modularity and the standardization process that often results from the coalescing of modular interfaces. It also warns about a changing tide that ebbs away from integration and flows toward componentization (i.e. dis-integration). Promote integration after this tide change only to your competitive disadvantage in terms of speed, flexibility and price.

This was an especially timely read for me as the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry is pursuing SOA and standards activities like iECM and JSR-170. To be clear, interoperability and integration are not the same thing, but I still see wisdom in article written four years ago for HBR.

Achievement of maximum effect with minimum means

A colleague of mine was kind enough to refer me to this. As a result I also read Garr Reynoldsfollow-up post. To me the whole “Live” announcement came as little surprise–it’s very much aligned with recent reorganizations at Microsoft and clearly addresses threats Microsoft faces from the likes of Google and others in the software-as-services space. But while I’ve read much of the blogosphere’s commentary on the announcement, I did not see it myself, nor did I, until now, read a critique of Bill’s performance in making this announcement. Although Garr is ex-Apple, his critique is, in my view, constructive and fair.

To me the overwhelming (and at the same time underwhelming) visuals are indicative of trying to bite off too much to chew in one slide. “Live” may be another one of those over-arching strategies–recall the Internet becoming everything–but if it is cast too broadly than its staying power is diluted and its resonance more quickly dissipates.

In the second post of the two I link to above, Garr shows a picture of Steve Jobs with a giant ‘?’ behind him (white character on black background). Simple. Direct. Engaging. It reminds me of a story Tom Peters conveyed in his book Re-imagine! The only difference was that Tom projected “So What?!?” instead of ‘?’