Protests and consequences

In the aftermath of the 2016 US Presidential Election, as I watch these protests across the country against the election of Trump.

I can’t deny the passions and emotions that have driven these protests. A lot of people are upset, and justifiably so. But, having read a lot recently about the rise of the hard right conservatives, I worry that the protests will backfire.

Alas, the protests that swept across the country in 1968, in the run up to that year’s presidential election, the public sentiment against the war was running high, as the deployments, and casualties were rising rapidly. Continue reading →

Digitalization

A word I am increasingly hearing tossed around is “digitalization”, something that probably makes you scratch your head and wonder what it is trying to say.

Yet, it isn’t so difficult of a concept. If you think of the rise of computers, and workstations in the 1980’s and 1990’s, with the systems that they brought along, email, ERP, CRM, communications, and others, the workplace changed tremendously.

These innovations brought quantum jumps in productivity, enabling efficiencies that were unimaginable in the pre-computer era. Continue reading →

Five Little Words

Five little words. “That feature doesn’t sell products“. Seems innocuous enough, but it is the death of product development when uttered by engineering.

Product Management is tasked with defining what a product should do, what features are needed, and how to compare/differentiate vis-a-vis with the competitors. We write requirements, and guide them into and through the development process.

All to have engineering remove features that they don’t believe drive value. Unfortunately, engineering often isn’t cognizant the concept of “whole product“. That beyond the core widget are the services and traits of the product that extend the offering, and provide the unique value proposition, thus enticing the customer to choose to purchase your product or service. Continue reading →

Tech – Laptops with eSATA ports

A general whine here today, but a while back, probably 2009 or so, the rage was laptops with eSATA ports, for faster external storage. USB3 was a glimmer, and FW800 seemed to be relegated to the Mac world.

My new (at the time) Dell Latitude had this eSATA port, and I was running a lot of VMs on VMWare Workstation, and more bandwidth was desirable.

So I bought a high performance Seagate eSATA external drive (7200 rpm drive in an enclosure), and thought for sure I was golden. Continue reading →

Competitive Analysis

One core aspect of the product and marketing role is to get insight on the competitive landscape. Apart from what you can find from their websites, you will want to dig deeper, and gain understanding of their business.

Fortunately, there are several sources to go to. Some of these are free, and some are not, but if you can get access to these, I highly recommend taking full advantage.

Dunn and Bradstreet – This is the gold standard.  It is not cheap, but if you have an investor relations group, odds are good that you have access to D&B.  It is worth the effort to get to this source.  Far more information on even small and early stage companies, as well as the best information on privately held firms.  I doubt I could justify the cost if I worked someplace without a subscription, but it really helps pave the path, and fill in blanks. Continue reading →

Adopt-A-Physicist

It is not a well hidden fact that I have a degree in Physics. But during my studies at San Jose State University, I had a few amazing semesters, really knocked it out of the park. That earned me an invitation to join the honor society, Sigma-Pi-Sigma. At the time, 1988 or so, I thought nothing of it, and forgot about it.

Then around 2009, they “found” me. Apparently, you never are dropped from their roles. Something to add to my resume. But it also lead to an invitation to participate in a program called “Adopt-a-Physicist“, where they Society of Physics Students matches physicists in their roster with up to three classes of high school students who are taking a physics class. Continue reading →

Life with a Thinkpad and Win 10

With my new gig, I was issued a sparkly new Lenovo Thinkpad T450 (must have gotten the tail end of the run, as it was revved to T460 shortly after I started) with a reasonable sized SSD, 8G ram, a decent screen, and the expected accouterments.

About the same time, my employer began rolling out Windows 10 on the desktop, so I am part of that world now. Prior to this, I had been using Windows 7 since 2010, and had become comfortable, passing up the whole Win 8 and 8.1 in the interim.

First thoughts were that I hated it. No, it wasn’t forced the “metro” interface that came with the initial launch of Win 8, and which turned off all the enterprise IT people I knew, but it still had some of that flavor that, well sucked. Continue reading →

Right Wing Talking Point: Solyndra

One thing I get tired of reading is the abuse piled on the Obama Administration by the Republicans (really, more specifically the Tea Party wing) about how the DoE loan guarantee extended to alternative energy companies was wasteful, and little more than political fluffery to reward a loyal demographic.

Alas, this story has been debunked over and over, yet the response “What about Solyndra?” is their rallying cry.

So, what about Solyndra? It was a startup that was taking a unique view of how to build efficient solar power modules. Using a thin film process, known as CIGS, to create efficiency somewhere between the then principal technologies, polycrystaline silicon, and monocrystalline silicon cells. PolySi cells were 15 – 18% efficient, and monoSi cells were 20 – 22%. Continue reading →

Innovation Management

As I research the Innovation process in preparation for a potential training program around Innovation Management, there are several thoughts that are swirling in my head.
Being a long time technical marketer, I am familiar with many of the “Chasmista’s” methodologies (loosely the body of thought inspired by Geoffrey Moore and his seminal work “Crossing the Chasm”), the concept of disruption, innovation, “tornado” markets are all well captured.

But I have also read practical marketing advice from Theodore Levin (in “The Marketing Imagination”) that innovation is often difficult, and that the leaders in innovation are frequently not the dominant force in the market, that often it is better to get the second bite at the apple (let someone else do that difficult work, and apply their learning to have cost, scale, or other advantages – The irony being that Apple often is seen as an innovator, but in reality, they are far better at that second bite.) Continue reading →

Data Scientist / Data Engineer

As part of my assignment, I have been researching a couple of hot roles in the digitization or digital transformation sphere, that of Data Engineer and Data Scientist. This fascinating trek down the rabbit hole has been quite illuminating.

One of the backbones of the digital transformation is the advent, and rise of this little thing called “Big Data”. With Software taking over the world, compute power becoming ubiquitous and practically free, just about every part of modern life creates data that can be leveraged in myriad ways. From tracking your browsing history so that if you research Chicago Deep Dish pizza pans, the next time you log into Facebook, you will see ads from Amazon or Sur la Table for hard anodized, non-stick deep dish pizza pans. Continue reading →