2 Sep 2012
Published by HarperBusiness WorldCat • Read Online • LibraryThing • Google Books • BookFinder
This summer I took time to re-read an oft-overlooked volume that I believe to be the essential to anyone working in marketing and innovation. In this review, I’ll provide a few examples of why this book needs more attention, particularly here in Canada where we definitely need to up our game in marketing of innovation and technology.
Clayton Christensen, as Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, is a leading academic researcher on innovation. Yet, he still manages to provide practical and pragmatic strategies that real companies can use. And, most importantly, his theoretical groundwork is based on extensive, data intensive research over longer period of time with real companies and markets going through disruptive innovation.
The latter term is often thrown around lightly in technology company circles. A Disruptive technology (or innovation) typically has worse product performance in mainstream markets while having key features that interest fringe and merging markets. By contrast, sustaining technologies provide improved product performance (and often price) in mainstream …
17 Aug 2012
After welcoming people to the 050th Reunion of the ‘Bun and other 1970’s computing at University of Waterloo in mid-August 2012, I’ve gathered together a photo album, the brief presentation from the Gala and the many comments received outside of the earlier blog post.
Before the Gala, almost 100 photos were gathered which have grown to almost 250 contributed by various attendees. Enjoy browsing the memories.Dave conroy Sytem controller Card Reader Line Printer Removable Disc Driver Randall Howard Dave Buckingham Charles Forsyth @ Math/Unix Eric Manning Dave Martindale Robert Biddle Mark Niemiec Jim Gardner Vic DiCiccio Dave Martindale Peter & Sylvia Raynham Wendy Nabert Williams Rohan Jayasekera Hide Tokuda & San-Qui Li Dave + Randall @ Mark Williams Alex White Randall @ MKS The Hacks @ Randall&Judy Wedding Math Building Morven Gentleman Morven Gentleman Eric Manning Eric Manning Ciaran O'Donnell Michael Dillon Peter & Flaurie Stevens Rick Beach Rick Beach Brad Templeton Brad Templeton Brad Templeton Ian Chaprin Ron & Amy Hansen Jon Livesey Johan George Kelly Booth Mike Malcolm Ian! Allen Linda Carson Linda Carson Dan Dodge Dave Huron R Anne Smith Trevor J Tho,mpson Math Building …
4 Aug 2012
Building larger technology companies is critical for our future economic well being, yet somehow we seem to pay more attention to the seed and startup phase. This post and a subsequent missive, Wisdom from Recent Waterloo Technology Acquisitions, aim to analyze some recipes for building technology businesses to scale first from the perspective of recent companies and then specifically through the lens of local acquisitions. This pair of posts will be based on extensive data, but the findings are intended to start discussion rather than be the last word.
3 Aug 2012
Published by Penguin PressWorldCat • LibraryThing • Google Books • BookFinder
A marvellous exploration of a research and innovation powerhouse that, even viewed from this age of innovation, surprisingly anticipated many approaches we think of as modern breakthroughs.I’ve long admired Bell Labs and feel that many of its researchers and innovations interacted with an impacting my own career. While in University, the notion of working with or at Bell Labs was the highest aspiration for top thinkers in many fields. The Idea Factory is an engaging read and showed me how limited my understanding of that institution really was.
First of all, from the 1920s to the 1980s, it was way ahead of its time as an agent of innovation. The approaches were brilliant and could be applied today, including the notion of building architecture and organization structures to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. Breaking down “knowledge silos” was definitely countercultural in …
16 Jul 2012
If you are in any way connected to this story, see link to event invitation at end of this post.
In August 1972, just before the start of fall classes, a new arrival was causing a stir in the Math & Computer building at University of Waterloo – a brand new Honeywell 6050 mainframe size computer running GCOS (General Comprehensive Operating Supervisor) and TSS (TimeSharing System). The arrival of this computer (which quickly got nicknamed, “HoneyBun” and eventually “The ‘Bun”) set the stage for a whole new generation of computer innovators at University of Waterloo and was the foundation for many a computer and internet innovator.
In retrospect, it was a fortuitous time to be young and engaged in computing. A fluid group of enthusiast programmers, “The Hacks” (a variant of the term “Hackers” popularized by MIT, yet not to be confused with the later “Crackers” who were all about malicious security breaches), revelled in getting these expensive machines (yet by today’s standards underpowered) to do super-human feats. The early 1970’s was the decade when software was coming into its own as …
1 Jul 2012
Published by HarperCollins WorldCat • LibraryThing • Google Books • BookFinder
I’ve always had the luxury to work in jobs in which I’ve had great passion for the core mission. I’ve come to realize how rare that is. And, with the twenty-first century making career and personal choices an ever more complex labyrinth, that fact is indeed a shame.
14 Jun 2012
Today was a banner day for announcements involving a reset of the technology funding ecosystem in Canada.
For a long time, the slow demise of Canadian Venture Capital has concerned me deeply, putting us at an international disadvantage in regards to funding and building our next generation of innovative businesses. You may recall my 2009 post Who Killed Canadian Venture Capital? A Peculiarly Canadian Implosion? which recounts the extinction of almost all of the A round investors working in Ontario.
Since then, many of us have worked to bridge the gap by building Angel Networks, including Golden Triangle AngelNet (GTAN), where I chair the Selection process and using extreme syndication and leverage to replace a portion of the missing A rounds.
Today, the launch of Round 13 Capital revealed a new model for venture finance centred around a strong Founder Board whose members are also LPs, each with a “meaningful” investment in the fund. My decision to get involved was based both on this strongly aligned wealth of operating wisdom coupled with the clear strength of the core team.
The launch …
3 Apr 2012
It is notable that much of the recent trend towards Social Innovation has come from people who began their careers in technology startups, in Silicon Valley or other technology clusters. Some notable examples include:
Bill Gates, partly at the instigation of Warren Buffet who added his personal fortune to that of Gates, left Microsoft, the company he built, to dedicate his life to innovative solutions to large world issues such as global health and world literacy through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Started by Paul Brainerd, Seattle-based Social Venture Partners International is innovating at the intersection of technology and venture capital, with Venture Philanthropy. Paul sold Aldus Corporation (an innovator in desktop publishing applications, including Pagemaker) to Adobe in the mid 1990s. In his mid-40’s at the time of the Adobe acquisition, he was young enough to seek a significant and active social purpose in his life.
Jeffrey Skoll, a Canadian-born billionaire living in Los Angeles and an early employee of eBay, has numerous activities aimed at Social Innovation including Skoll Foundation, Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship and Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Most of his initiatives …
5 Jan 2012
First of all, I would like to congratulate Phil Deck, Michael Harris and the entire team for finding both a fabulous new home for MKS, but also one which represents a significant strategic financial transaction, valuing MKS at just over 4 times estimated FY2011 sales.
Many people have asked for my perspective. In short, I continue to view the acquisition as favourable to customers, employees, Waterloo and its shareholders. To delve further, this article, written from my own perspective, gives both background and some lasting observations and universal lessons from MKS.
1 Jan 2012
Dennis MacAlister Ritchie (1941-2011) – My Inspiration by a Great Man Who Quietly Shaped an Industry
NOTE: The intrusion and profusion of projects in my life, has prevented blogging for some time. As 2011 draws to a close, I thought I needed to make an effort to provide my perspective on some important milestones in my world.
Back in October, when Rob Pike posted on Google+:
I just heard that, after a long illness, Dennis Ritchie (dmr) died at home this weekend. I have no more information.
I trust there are people here who will appreciate the reach of his contributions and mourn his passing appropriately.
He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind.
Although the work of Dennis Ritchie has not been top of my mind for a number of years, Rob’s posting dredged up some pretty vivid early career memories.
As the co-creator of UNIX, along with his collaborator Ken Thompson, as well as the C Programming Language, Dennis had a huge and defining impact on my career, not to mention the entire computer industry. In short, after years as a leader …