22 Aug 2009
Published by Warner Books WorldCat • Read Online • LibraryThing • Google Books • BookFinder
The late 1990’s was a heady time for visionaries. Before the Dot Com Meltdown, it seems that every senior executive, myself included, spent lots of time prognasticating on how technology was transforming the world. From the perspective of the twenty-first century and the passage of over a decade, it’s interesting to read one of these. In the book, Bill Gates provides a lucid, and surprisingly impartial (ie. non-Microsoft) view about how business is being transformed and can benefit from what he calls a digital nervous system.
By providing a high level roadmap and vision for corporate CIOs, Bill is really defining a multi-year plan for digital transformation. While the details and trends have moved on (ie. no mention of cloud computing here), the roadmap is surprisingly au courant. So much so, in fact, that I’d encourage anyone aspiring to be an IT visionary today to go back and read this book (or similar one from other software visionary CEOs). It also …
15 Aug 2009
I am extremely pleased to share today’s announcement from Gore Mutual Insurance Company that I have been appointed to their Board of Directors. I was officially appointed at the July 28, 2009 Board meeting and initially, I will serve on the Audit, Pension and Conduct Review & Governance Committees.
Because people may see this diferent from other activities I’m engaged in, I thought I would provide some perspective on what this appointment means for me personally.
Founded in 1839, this venerable Waterloo Region financial services institution is Canada’s oldest insurance company. Such a long and magnificent heritage and time scale is obviously very different from that of the technology startup scene. That said, this company is an object lesson to all in the nature of innovation in a long term business, and that intrigued me. The Gore, as it is affectionately known by most, has survived and thrived, not by resting on its legacy, but through a constant process of change and innovation, to stay ahead of the many curve balls that time throws at any business.
And yet, as a …
20 Jul 2009
Bunny: Don’t you think you’d better go? The tortoise has the lead.Max Hare: Say, I’ve lots of time to play. My middle name is speed.SOURCE: Tortoise and the Hare, Walt Disney/United Artists, 1935
While I typically leave reviews of even major new products to others, my personal experience in the much heralded Windows 7 Beta to launch process provides some interesting observations on the difference between large and small companhies in early adopter customer engagement.
Having bought an early Asus eeePC netbook almost 2 years ago and finding that early product both intriguing yet frustrating, I purchased the newly launched HP 2140 HD netbook when it launched in late June. This is a well engineering product that has clearly crossed the useability threshhold for uber mobility.
Like most netbooks, it comes standard with Windows XP Home. This was just fine because I, like the majority of Windows desktop users, wisely passed on the miasma that is also known as Windows Vista.
However, having heard some reports that the Windows 7 Beta was showing some promise and recognizing that running an operating system originally launched …
5 May 2009
“Dawn itself is the most neglected masterpiece of the modern world.” – R Murray Shafer
For those who don’t already know him, R Murray Shafer is the legendary superstar of the Canadian Musical avant garde – a great thinker, teacher, composer and all round renaissance man.
Having been a fan for over 30 years but with little local exposure, it was great to see his Harbingers of Spring: a rare soundwalk presented last week in Waterloo Region. I’ve had the great fortune to have experienced many of his masterworks, especially those from his ambitious, 12 part Patria series, including The Princess of the Stars, Ra and The Enchanted Forest. Each concert is a one of a kind, tour de force combining music, theatre, philosophy many times based on classic mythologies and almost always set in the natural environment.
The soundwalk event was really a set of mini-concerts stitched together during a 3 hour walk through the breathtaking, almost 1000 acre rare property at the confluence of the Speed and the Grand Rivers in Cambridge. First and foremost, a brilliant thought leader and …
1 May 2009
During the morning of Wednesday 29 April, 2009 I was flatly told, with no recourse, that my CIBC Aerogold Visa for Business card was being cancelled immediately because it, and many other cards, had been compromised by some unspecified third parties.
A quick web search indicates an almost endless litany of incursions by hackers into credit card processors, including Heartland Payment Systems or Another Unspecified Processor. Although perhaps just bad luck for me, shouldn’t I be delighted that CIBC is looking out for my interests using its highly sophisticated fraud detection software and systems? Well, maybe, but …
As an almost 15 year business customer of CIBC Aerogold VISA, I chose this product because it claims to offer the highest level of customer service aimed at a global and sophisticated business travelling clientele. Based on that, my company uses that card heavily for both a travel and payment card, including many monthly recurring payments. As a long term customer, my assessment of the VISA response to a problem inside their own payments ecosystem was inadequate because:When I asked for further clarification, the …
12 Apr 2009
Published by McGraw-Hill WorldCat • LibraryThing • Google Books • BookFinder
Don Tapscott is a real cheerleader for the Net Generation (also called Generation Y) and justifiably so. Often maligned, and ill understood, this generation has, at their best, harnessed the power to harness digital technologies to truly make the world a better place. While often misunderstood, few can ignore a generation with more demographic punch than the previously dominant baby boomers.
21 Mar 2009
The 20th Century was defined by an ill-fated search for a better world, inspired by late 19th Century, Victorian thinking. The irony, then, is that the 20th Century turned out to be probably the most destructive in human history, based on often misguided applications of powerful new technologies.
If you define a utopian society as one where governments plan to have zero unemployment, stable economic growth and high personal well being, how have we done in planning for this world? Up to now, in a word, wretchedly.
A personal defining moment was when I journeyed behind the Berlin Wall to East Berlin in 1989. This was just before the Soviet Bloc, along with its vassal state the German Democratic Republic, spectacularly imploded on 9 November, 1989. While I had previously sympathized with the notion that a socialist government could plan to make the world a better place, the dismal comparison of the East and West that I saw then graphically disabused me, forever, of that notion. East Berlin was a drab, grey, unpainted city in which even the prominent public buildings still …
15 Mar 2009
“Fortes fortuna adiuvat” – “Fortune favours the bold” – Latin proverb
The current economic meltdown has unleashed brutal forces acting on all aspects of the business world, but certainly innovative startups in fields like software, web, wireless, green technologies and life sciences are at grave risk. In Canada, our startups have generally been world class innovators, but severely underfunded when benchmarked against US and leading European countries.
Not only has the credit crunch forced most Angel Investors to the sidelines, but the supply of Venture Capital (VC) in Canada has contracted almost to the vanishing point.
Tomorrow’s Canadian Business documents this very well in VC Financing: Cold Realities.
Having started my first software company in the mid-1980’s, I am well aware that although VC money was available and well established in the Silicon Valley, VC money for knowledge-based startups such as mine was then nonexistent in Canada. Through the 1990’s, however, Canada started to build a cadre of new funds that showed early promise of replicating a US style VC funding ecosystem
In the early millennium when Verdexus investigated raising a institutional fund to fill …
6 Mar 2009
The Net Generation (born 1977 to 1997), also known as Generation Y or the Millennials, is an ill understood lot. Don Tapscott, noted thought leader on digital technologies, is a real cheerleader for them in his recent book Grown Up Digital.
However, while some of his examples may represent the bleeding edge thought leaders of this generation, almost everything he says is well reasoned and researched. I would suggest this book is a must read for the rest of us who will watch this demographically dynamic generation increasingly dominate all aspects of our society, including business, culture, education, politics and entertainment. Many of us are looking at this generation from the perspective of the previously dominant demographic group known as Baby Boomers or Boomers (born 1946-1964), also known as the TV Generation. I would note that already, the Net Generation outnumbers the Boomers.
Perhaps the defining characteristic of this group is that they are the first generation to have been immersed from birth in digital technologies, such as the internet, computers and online media. Because of this, they are sometimes labelled “digitals“, …
15 Feb 2009
In today’s challenging economic times, it is extra important for governments, academics and individuals to plan our future economic prosperity. Thus, it is timely that Richard Florida and Roger Martin from the Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto this month published Ontario in the Creative Age, which provides a detailed future-oriented policy blueprint.
It sets a policy agenda to help us unleash our full potential in the Twenty-first Century where economic success is increasingly coming from creatively-oriented enterprise versus our traditional strength in routine physical and routine service occupations. The report is backed by research which highlights both our existing strengths and weaknesses including those in education, income and even the gap in our creative/routine job mix compared to our peers. Starting from the base of today, the agenda suggests four main focus areas to drive future prosperity:“Harness the creative potential of Ontarians”, including businesses’ role in changing job mix, education and even marketing of our capabilities, “Broaden our talent base”, focused on significant increases to our post secondary educational levels and broadening managerial …