Monthly Archives: January 2008

Blue Ocean Strategy

Before the end of 2007, I finished reading Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant, and then I promptly forgot to blog my thoughts (i.e. beyond this). :-)

Cirque du Soleil is the leading example of a business successfully applying blue ocean strategy to break away from the pack and to define new space market space (i.e. it’s not a circus…or is it? It’s not adult theater…or is it?). Having been to several Cirque shows both locally and in Las Vegas, I can’t think of a better model to reference.

The authors present various frameworks in support of their strategic model focused on blue oceans:

  • Four actions framework, featuring the eliminate-reduce-raise-create grid and focused on the analytics behind blue ocean realization
  • Six paths framework, focusing on the formulation and execution of blue ocean strategy by looking across alternative industries (e.g. trade-across dynamics), looking across strategic groups within industries (e.g. trade-up/trade-down dynamics), looking across the chain of buyers (i.e. purchasers + users + influencers), looking across complementary product and service offerings (e.g. identify and eliminate pain points), looking across functional or emotional appeal to buyers, and looking across time (i.e. trends of interest that are decisive to your business, irreversible, and have a clear trajectory)

Reading the emotional appeal that Cemex was able to produce with its 1998 launch of the Patrimonio Hoy program–the emotion that comes from a “gift of dreams”–caused me to think about potential ways to add emotion to my own profession.

I think that there is an opportunity, for example, to cast knowledge management today in a more emotional light. Baby boomers represent a significant amount of knowledge and part of that knowledge is professional and corporate. It seems to me that this “boomer generation” can be better incented to transfer its vast experience in business, for example, by projecting knowledge management as a social cause, casting subsequent generations in a cynical but also free spirited manner, etc.

Thinking about trends of interest, I wonder what new software and services will emerge to support an education process that continues to increase its basis upon teams and collaboration. For example:

  1. Support young students who already launch multiple IM windows to accomplish homework collectively with peers
  2. Shift toward open, public wikis and away from closed, private documents
  3. Shift toward shared authoring instead of solo authoring, increasing the need to promote proper attribution (i.e. credit where its due)–possibly beyond citations and bibliographies
  4. Promote original thought and study, establishing one’s reputation as a strong contributor, team player, leader, negotiator, etc.

According to authors Kim and Mauborgne, “To fundamentally shift the strategic canvas as an industry, you must begin by reorienting your strategic focus from competitors to alternatives, and from customers to noncustomers of the industry.”

I finished my previous post on this book by asking open questions to enterprise content management (ECM) noncustomers. In closing here, my question is simply, if you have addressed content management needs but have opted for a non-ECM solution, what alternative did you go with and why? What was/is missing from ECM that if provided would change that decision?

Update 12/1/2008: For more of my book reviews and to see what else is in my book library (i.e. just the business-related or software-related non-fiction therein), please visit my Books page.

Precision collaboration

Once again, watching Modern Marvels yields another software idea. This time an episode on harvesting referenced the practice known as “precision farming” (also “precision agriculture“).

Aerial view of farmland

Rather than treating everything equal on a farm with a crop harvest in mind, precision farming enables farmers to take a different view of their crops and land. Farmers can see that specific area need more or less water, more or less fertilizer, are more or less ready to harvest, etc. Precision is used to provide for the actual needs of the crops, which in turn benefits the farmer’s time, lessens the environmental impact due to farming and increases crop yields.

This got me to thinking about collaboration in general and then my own collaboration wherever it takes place. Is my collaboration as effective as it can be? Can a sort of precision be brought to bear on collaboration? Is their a science or psychology to collaboration as there is to agriculture so that a high-level (satellite) view can be produced in order to determine where collaboration will yield the desired outcome and where it needs more or less of a particular concern, whether participants, content, discussion, connection, context, control, process, reward, vision, immediacy?

I believe that there is; therefore, I coin the phrase “precision collaboration” to embody the practice of looking at collaboration–enterprise-wide, group-based, even ad-hoc–as a process with intrinsic variability that should supported accordingly.

Before I was introduced to precision farming, I started reading Beyond the Desktop Metaphor, which is an edited collection of current research on integrated digital work environments. Although I’m haven’t finished reading it yet, this book has already challenged and also validated my thinking where these environments are concerned with content and collaboration.

While I could probably blog more about this now, I’m going to wait until I’ve finished this book–and perhaps a few others–in order to better collect my thoughts and ground my thinking with real-world examples. Collaboration is personal, and frankly I’m not sure that a blog is the best way to convey thoughts collaboratively (notwithstanding comments). Nevertheless…

EMC Documentum Foundation Services (DFS) tutorial

In response to the DFS area within the EDN forums, Sergey at DFS Notes has been kind enough to post a three-part tutorial as follows:

  1. Part 1 – Environment setup for DFS SDK and (“Hello World”) service creation
  2. Part 2 – Java client creation
  3. Part 3 – .NET remote client

Here are a few more details to complement this tutorial:

  • In DFS 6.0 (v1), BEA Weblogic Server 9.2 (plus BEA Smart Update-based patches) is supported and the unit of deployment is an EAR file. In DFS 6.0 SP1, supported JEE application servers were increased to also include Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3 (10.1.3.x) and IBM WebSphere Application Server V6.1, Fix Pack 11. Certified JEE application server support will continue to grow in future releases (e.g. JBoss) as well as support both for application servers biased toward EAR files and toward WAR files.
  • The version of Ant used during DFS 6.0 development was 1.6.5; however the version of Ant required for use with the DFS SDK is 1.7.0. Ant 1.7.0 is the first version of the Apache open source project to formally support Ant libraries (or antlibs), and DFS SDK 6.0 SP1 has a dependency on Antlib for .NET 1.0 in order to build .NET productivity layer support for your custom services. (You can also leverage NAnt, if you prefer.) So, before you commence a build using the DFS SDK 6.0 SP1, you should verify the version of Ant that will be applied, by typing “ant -version” in a Command Prompt window, for example, is “1.7.0.” If you forget to do this or proceed despite not seeing “1.7.0” and you encounter a “java.lang.NoSuchMethodError:” exception while attempting to build your custom service EAR file–even though you’ve installed Ant 1.7.0, you may need to verify that ant.jar is referenced before dctm.jar is referenced on your active ClassPath.
  • Java 5 Standard Edition is required for EMC Documentum 6.0 where platform development is concerned (e.g. using the DFS SDK). EMC Documentum 6.0 SP1 certifies support for Java 6 Standard Edition only on the browser host, not on the application server. You may encounter deployment issues if you build your custom service with Java SE 6.0.
  • Versions of JAX-WS and JAXB included in the DFS SDK 6.0 SP1 are as follows: JAX-WS 2.1.2 reference implementation from Sun and JAXB 2.1.4 reference implementation from Sun. If you encounter a “java.lang.LinkageError” exception while building your custom service EAR, then you may need to employ standard “endorsed” library techniques to ensure proper JAXB class loading.

Thanks to Sergey for posting his tutorial, and thanks to Saša at Pexim Content Manaqement Solutions for sharing his development experience with me, which contributed to the above content.


Although it began as an Oracle blogosphere community builder, Billy Cripe was kind enough to include others outside his employer, including me, for this friendly game.

First, I am to disclose eight not-so-obvious things about myself. OK:

  1. I’m right-minded since I’m left-handed (i.e. a South Paw, a Goofy Footer).
  2. My wife grew up in South Africa and we met across state lines.
  3. I’m an applied mathematician by training, and I thought I’d be a college professor. Then I had a software internship and started making money…
  4. My Dad was a DBA and my Mom was a junior high school teacher. I do envision teaching some day…
  5. I’m 6’3″ so I’m asked about playing basketball…until my 6’7″ younger brother shows up. He and I also debate who’s the real architect–my software angle or his traditional (buildings) angle.
  6. I enjoy barbecuing and seem to have received the extended family grill master mantle. (If you have any good rub or sauce recipes, please do share them with me.)
  7. I prefer Peet’s coffee to Starbucks coffee, and I prefer dogs over cats.
  8. I took a job as a janitor just to appreciate life on the other side. As a result, I see folks in this kind of service differently (better, I sincerely hope).

Next, I am to tag eight un-tagged bloggers. So, I now tag David Caruana, Laurence Hart, David Hill, Ross Mayfield, Rob Masson, Jeff Nolan, and Harry Pierson. Cheers, guys! :-)

Cushy catalyst

Last weekend–before the Sierra’s were dumped on–my family and a friend’s family went up past Sonora for a few days to play in the snow. On the first day while driving to Pine Crest, we came across of hillside perfect for sledding. In fact a whole army of families had and continued to make the same conclusion.

My son, the daredevil, kept asking me to position his sled runs wherever he could find a way to “catch air.” Eventually, the question arose as to why I wasn’t doing the same. So, with my son looking on…

Sledding down a slope near Pine Crest

Upon landing in my paper-thin plastic saucer an idea occurred to my tail bone and I: there has to be a way to apply durable, cost-effective, lightweight cushioning to typical sledding gear.

Immediately the name “cushy” came to mind for the business of providing such comfort. (Alas, an XYZ 2.0 company has already claimed the .com address.)

Anyway, if I ever change jobs for the material sciences and manufacturing, I wanted to capture the moment inspiring such change. :-)

Happy New Year!