Phone Hacks and Terrorism

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

The recent news that the code that protects 80% of the world’s mobile phones had been cracked plus the attempted bombing of a US airliner again brings home the reality that security is not a given.

In the case of the phone hack, a German encryption expert claimed to have organized the break-in to demonstrate the weakness of the mobile phone network and support his claim that this vulnerability should have been fixed 15 years ago.

At the time of this blog entry, the alleged bomber has not indicated his reason for his actions but early returns from the investigation posted in the press lead many to suspect terrorism.

Both of these events again highlight the necessary for security, be it technology or air travel, to exist in an ever-changing and improving state of affairs.

Malicious activity takes on ever-changing forms as it follows its own logic of destruction and it is incumbent upon all of us to maintain vigilance, continually upgrade our systems and operating methods, and to be creative at all times in adjusting to this environment; taking individual responsibility to be part of the solution.

That said, this level of commitment and creativity will result in not only a safer work environment but also a more creative one. Creativity’s ROI is always high and if every activity, be it security or anything else, is conducted with creativity business and individuals can only prosper grow.

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Social Media Club Event – Veronica Belmont – Keepin’ It Real

December 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Veronica Belmont led a discussion, hosted by the Social Media Club of Seattle,  to a packed audience at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond on December 8th. Her core message was that social media tools like Twitter and Facebook are fast becoming de rigueur for both start-ups and established companies looking to stay relevant and in touch with their target audience.

Key to this new reality is the need for the messenging to be honest and open as audiences are more sophisticated and discerning in their understanding of the content directed to them.

Veronica also addressed the very real work required to create social media content and transmit it in a tactical way for strongest impact. This new marketing platform has evolved into a full-time role at most companies. As a result of the heightened role that media has taken on, companies are grappling with the issue of what to say and how, bringing about a tension between a traditional need and desire for tight control of messaging and the new realities of the internet that demand creativity and spontaneity.

The event closed with the question: as social media goes mainstream, will it lose the magic that makes it the avant garde tool that it is now?

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WTIA: John Cook’s Predictions 2010

November 19, 2009 Leave a comment

The Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) hosted John Cook’s annual Predictions for 2010 at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle last night.

The panel members were:

  • Kelly Smith, Founding Partner, Curious Office
  • Greg Gottesman, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group
  • Glenn Kelman, CEO, Redfin
  • Bill Bryant, Venture Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  • Andy Sack, Independent Software Entrepreneur and Investor

The conversation was brisk and lively, with plenty of interplay between the panelists and the moderator. Some key takeaways from our perspective were:

1) An attractive opportunity for investment is an online music creation and publishing tool, allowing users to build a community with their efforts. An example of a current effort was Picnik.com.

2) With the decline of traditional media outlets and the rise of social media, PR messaging should migrate to the social media space as a way of maintaining impact and retaining relevance.

3) With the rise in popularity of  technology gaming and consumer’s need for immersive entertainment, live-action role-playing combined with geocaching tools are a good play for investors and developers.

4) Twitter may be over-valued but it will maintain itself as a target for acquisition. Andy Sack went out on  a limb to say that it is likely that Microsoft will buy Twitter in 2010. Other panelists were not so sure, saying that Facebook is a more attractive target but that it does need to demonstrate profitability. One solution was to charge users for photo storage.

Finally, there was much discussion over who, if anyone, would be able to unseat Apple’s iPhone. One panelists ventured that the only viable candidate is Google who is able to invest in building a network, supplying the OS and apps, as well as producing the actual phone; thus almost mimicking Apple (who does all of that except for having it’s own network).

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Why Not Detroit?

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

I was having coffee with a friend and we started talking about data farms and the rise of cloud computing. Frankly, we were as smart and innovative as anyone else has been so I won’t blog about that.

One thing that sprang to mind, though, was where data centers are often placed; remote locations that require local utilities to invest in additional infrastructure (because of the remoteness of the site as well as the special power needs that data centers require).

This cost is then passed on to data center who then indirectly passes that on to local ratepayers since the local community or county body will provide tax breaks and incentives to attract the data center in the first place (think, until recently, of Quincy WA and their relationship with MSFT).

So, if there is a value in having data centers in a community (let’s assume something to do with jobs) and there is a need for infrastructure investment, then why not place data centers in urban communities where there is existing infrastructure and probably plenty of cheap real estate?

Picking Detroit as an example of a community that is in desperate need of help, we know it has plenty of unused space, an existing infrastructure, and a community of people who would benefit from that type of investment. Furthermore, this kind of initiative can be the rallying post for further technology investment and subsequent job growth; all things necessary to building a better community.

So, why not Detroit?

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10,000

October 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Malcom Gladwell’s book and Seth Godin‘s recent post got us thinking about the effort and focus required for success. 10,000 hours for an individual translates into consistent work, training over and over again while your competition sloughs off as the miles you put in draws you closer to the finish line.

We are all intuitively drawn to the concept (that’s why we reward those who put in the long hours in the office or on the road) and try to apply this to ourselves. That’s also why Nike’s women’s training system is so popular. It allows women to demonstrate their commitment and their long hours.

What does 10,000 hours mean for a company? Is it driving your employees like slaves building a pyramid or is it a  call to action with everyone in the trenches working as a team, surmounting challenges, scaling obstacles, and, celebrating the final victory?

If you look at the winners who cross  finish lines you know the answer is in the positive call to action. We all live in uncertain economic times but we know that we need to cross that finish line and that we need to put in the right training and those 10,000 hours.

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Healthcare I.T.- Innovations That Will Transform Healthcare

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

ServerLogic participated in the WTIA-hosted Healthcare IT event last night. It was a packed room at the Herban Feast in SODO with an expert panel of IT and healthcare leaders.

Moderated by Joel French (Founder & Managing Director of the Nephalios Group), the panel consisted of: Henry Albrecht (CEO of Limeade), Carla Corkern (CEO, Chairman of the Board of Talyst), Luis Machuca (President and CEO of Kryptiq), Mohan Nair (EVP, Chief Marketing Executive for Regence), and Michael Raymer (Global Marketing Strategist & General Manager for Microsoft-Health Solutions Group).

Spurred on by questions from the audience, the panel discussed the future of healthcare and the role that technology would play in it. Specifics included, how to manage patient privacy, the needs of healthcare organizations to manage information under current HIPAA regulations, and the roles that individual consumers and health professionals will have to play in this brave new world.

Our takeaway from this event was that there is more that is unknown than known as people and organizations navigate these waters. That said, the innovations in management and delivery of medical services, information (for research as well as patient consumption), and privacy records management, mean that we need to approach this challenge with optimism, an open mind, and a willingness to innovate.

For businesses, this is an opportunity to leverage resources and people to create solutions with the confidence that this will bring bottom line rewards as well as the more intangible, but equally-important, reward of contributing to the community.

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Is It Safe Out There?

September 18, 2009 1 comment

Recent news about border tension between China and India, two regional superpowers with considerable nuclear capabilities and a long-standing grudge since 1962, brings to mind the dangers that exist in the world.

Between that and the Mumbai terror attack, it brings to mind just fragile security truly is in the world today. It’s also a reminder that the US is a safe and far more stable place to live and work than anywhere else (post 9/11 there have been no terror assaults on the US).

When you are considering outsourcing your business (and with that comes the outsourcing of your critical data and info) always keep in mind that while it is easy to exist on the “internet cloud,” that cloud rests in places that may not always be as stable as one thinks.

And that lack of stability brings costs that far outweigh an initial savings. At the end of the day, it’s a better bet to stay local and to stay safe.

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