Saturday, April 21, 2007

Google's Eric Schmidt - Growing Google and Google Culture

Google's revenue and employee head count have tripled in the last two years. How do you keep from becoming too bureaucratic or too chaotic?

It's a constant problem. We analyze this every day, and our conclusion is that the best model is still small teams running as fast as they can and tolerating a certain lack of cohesion. Attempting to provide too much order dries out the creativity. What's needed in a properly functioning corporation is a balance between creativity and order.

But we've reined in certain things. For example, we don't tolerate the kind of "Hey, I want to have my own database and have a good time" behavior that was effective for us in the past.

-- Wired, May 2007.

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Dean Kamen on Innovation

"Innovation and creativity will be the only serious metrics to sustain us as a world-class country." - Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, President of DEKA Research.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Challenges = Tenure

Why do people change jobs? There are entire books and research studies on this and an entire Blog site could live on the subject ... hmm, there is an idea of a lively and oft visited blog.

But one reason that a company has control of is that people just get bored doing the same thing in the same place with the same people for the same amount of money. There are just no challenges or thrills left at the old job any more, so they start looking around for a greener pasture.

Robert Wayman was the CFO of Hewlett-Packard for 23 years and a 37 year veteran of the company. He was ready to retire when things got a little dicey and the company needed help cleaning up the mess associated with board-directed detectives. Why did he postpone his retirement? New challenges. "How long you stay with a company depends on how many learning opportunities are available," he said (CFO magazine, April 2007,

If you have ever just stuck it out at a company where you were totally bored, but just could not quite leave, then you know what a living hell that can be. Eventually you even become ashamed of yourself for not having the initiative or courage to walk out.

Pursue the challenges and let the rest take care of itself.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sun's Chief Gaming Officer - Chris Melissinos

The military needs a mechanism to deliver training applications to any desktop client at any facility in the world. Accomplishing this by installing the right training app on the right computer is totally impractical, and practically impossible. This has to be a pull system that allows the trainee to open or install the necessary applications on the computer that he is sitting at. Web pages are a great model for this, though training applications are more like 3D games is their size and complexity.

Java games delivered via Web Start is one solution to this. It allows the application to be larger and more complex than a typical web page or Flash application. But it also avoids requiring the user to install applications from CD-ROM.

Of course Chris Melissinos, the Chief Gaming Officer for Sun Microsystems, thinks this is a great solution because it uses Sun's Java environment as its foundation. After playing with a number of Java games for entertainment, I tend to agree with him for medium-sized applications (i.e. 1MB to 10MB).

One entertaining example is Tribal Trouble.

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Discussion with Greg Papadopoulos

During the Game Developers Conference, I had a great meeting with Greg Papadopoulos, the CTO of Sun Microsystems. We were able to explore a number of ideas for computing to support ubiquitous training applications for the military. Specifically,

  • Servers - What kind of back-end servers/services do you need to provide a source from which to deliver training applications?
  • Learning Metrics - How do you measure the impact that the training applications are having on the soldiers who are going through it?
  • Identity Management - How do you verify the identity of the person who is being trained somewhere in the world?
  • Long-haul Networking - What are the conduits that can deliver instantaneous training applications to soldiers?
  • Training Client - What software technology can effectively carry training to 500,000 people spread all over the globe?

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