Archive for the 'Corporate' Category


The State of the Union – Signed The Boss

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

This was supposedly written by a genuine small business owner, but I supposed it could be apocryphal.

—————————————————————————-

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country. However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a Back Story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You’ve seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I’m sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don’t see is the BACK STORY: I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70′s. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury.

I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9 A.M., mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 P.M., I don’t. There is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour.

Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations… you never realize the Back Story and the sacrifices I’ve made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his
money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly
feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess
what? I have to pay taxes for employing him.

Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my
time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero.. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy. Here is what many of you don’t understand … to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep. So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I’ll fire you. I’ll fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about….

Signed, THE BOSS

Understanding The Long Tail..

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

I think it’s best summed up by this quote from an ex Amazon employee:

We sold more books today that didn’t sell at all yesterday than we sold today of all the books that did sell yesterday.

It’s so interesting..

Globe and Mail: It’s a worrying time to be a spokesbeaver

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

The telco’s have been getting a lot of attention the last couple weeks. On the 22nd of March the Globe & Mail reported that Telus was taking BCE to court over an ad run in Western Canada, were Frank and Gordon (the lovable Bell spokesbears) were bragging that Bell had the most powerful network. The only problem, was that Bell runs off of Telus networks in the West!

This past week BCE was rumoured (on the front page of the Globe) to soon be the target of a takeover by KKR — an American private equity firm. BCE quickly denied the reports, but the very next day were reported to be in talks with Telus for a possible merger. The following script (it’s a joke) from a Bell Mobility TV commercial was in todays Globe:

Bell Mobility’s latest TV commercial, take 23. Action:

Gordon: So, Frank, did you hear about the company being taken over by Lenny Kravitz?

Frank: That’s Henry Kravis, Gord. And by the time he’s finished with us, you can forget about your lifetime supply of jelly beans.

Gordon: What would an American leveraged buyout company want with us? I was checking BCE stock yesterday on my new phone using our unlimited calling plan, and apparently the share price hasn’t moved since Alexander Graham Bell last called his mom on her birthday.

Frank: That’s just it, Gord. It doesn’t matter how well you and I do at attracting the elusive 14-35 demographic in the face of intense competition from hipper, nimbler providers such as Rogers and Virgin Mobile, the fact remains that our shareholders are fed up with BCE stock stinking up their RRSPs.

Gordon: So that nice man, Michael Sabia, who interviewed us for the job, is he in trouble?

Frank: Let’s just say he might just want to think of posting his résumé on workopolis.com. You too, my furry friend. I hear they’re thinking of replacing you with a possum.

Gordon: Oh yeah? Well, don’t count your chickens, because when they find out how much Norm McDonald is getting paid to do your voice, he’ll be the out the door and you’ll be talking like Ryan Seacrest.

Frank: Seacrest’s cheap. He’s got no class.

Gordon: Maybe, but I’m scared, Frank. Very scared. I can’t afford to go back to building dams for a living. Can’t Ottawa step in?

Frank: That’s an idea! Hey, why don’t I call Stephen Harper using Bell Mobility’s amazing family and friends plan?

(Close-up on Frank holding the ultracool LG Fusic phone. He dials.)

Frank: Prime Minister’s office, please. Oh, hi Mr. Harper. Say, I wondered if you could do something to stop Americans taking over Canada’s most prized telecommunications network and infrastructure? Hmm-hmm. Yep. Uh-ha. OK. (Hangs up.)

Gord: What’s he say?

Frank: He said he’d like to help us, but there’s no Quebec or 905 votes in it.

Gord: That’s it. I’m outta here. Screw those monkeys, I’m heading over to Telus.

Frank: Me too.

Exeunt, pursued by a bear.

A closer look into what Google Adwords charges..

Saturday, March 10th, 2007

This is interesting, though on a small scale, it’s still relevant. I run Google Adwords (display ads on specific search terms with Google) for a service I created called WebBasedCron. A little while ago, I decided to start tracking what ads were really being clicked — i.e. when an advertisement was clicked, it would send them to a special URL (ex. www.webbasedcron.com/?action=advwbc). Then I would use PHP code like the following to record the persons IP, the date, time and their session id.

Code:
if ( $read_action == "advwbc" ) {
        $session = $user->db->quote(session_id());
        $ip = $user->db->quote($_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR']);
        $date = $user->db->quote(date("'Y-m-d'"));
        $time = $user->db->quote(date('H:i:s'));
        $sqlInsert = "INSERT INTO webcron_google(date,time,ip,session) VALUES ($date,$time,$ip,$session)";
        $user->db->query($sqlInsert);
}

The session is important because it tells me if the advertisement was clicked in the same instance of the browser or not (when you restart your browser, you get a new session). So lets look at the results for March 9th (yesterday). I changed nothing, only hid half the persons IP address.

Code:
2007-03-09  	04:16:35  	211.30.xxx.xx  	9fbe09012f7ce71854b1e040b0b0fe3c
2007-03-09 	04:17:20 	211.30.xxx.xx 	9fbe09012f7ce71854b1e040b0b0fe3c
2007-03-09 	04:17:47 	211.30.xxx.xx 	9fbe09012f7ce71854b1e040b0b0fe3c
2007-03-09 	04:18:07 	211.30.xxx.xx 	9fbe09012f7ce71854b1e040b0b0fe3c
2007-03-09 	04:18:10 	211.30.xxx.xx 	9fbe09012f7ce71854b1e040b0b0fe3c
2007-03-09 	04:18:13 	211.30.xxx.xx 	9fbe09012f7ce71854b1e040b0b0fe3c
2007-03-09 	04:18:34 	211.30.xxx.xx 	9fbe09012f7ce71854b1e040b0b0fe3c
2007-03-09 	04:18:36 	211.30.xxx.xx 	9fbe09012f7ce71854b1e040b0b0fe3c
2007-03-09 	07:47:21 	193.71.xx.x 	 1895a2c135512d29fa7002e6a8126e65
2007-03-09 	09:51:47 	59.144.xxx.xxx 	b5c090a6f26d83b890fd2faf79c17464

You may notice, that the first 8 lines were from the same IP address (211.30.xxx.xx) clicked between 04:16:35 to 04:18:36. It’s easy to see this person got pretty click happy, clicking the ad, hitting back, clicking the ad, etc. Furthermore, the session id is the same for all the 8 clicks, which means he/she was using the same browser instance. I would expect Google to be able to detect this type of click fraud and only charge me for 2 legitimate clicks, the ones placed at 07:47:21 and 09:51:47 (not from 211.30.xxx.xx). The strange part, is I was charged for 4 clicks that day. That means of the 8 illegitimate clicks, Google charged me for 2 of them.

Believe me, at an average cost per click of $0.11, it really doesn’t matter, but I can imagine for larger companies, Google must be making a fortune off these people. Its really hard to side with Google on this, I mean if they deemed 6 of those clicks illegitimate, why not the remaining 2?? Do people really click the same advertisement 8 times in 2 minutes, with many of them 3 seconds apart? It’s easy to see that even through blatant click fraud Google shamelessly makes money.

YUI: Blog, Library, Patterns, Theater

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

I’m blown away at how “right” Yahoo is doing it. All too often I see corporation doing Open Source, but releasing some early, un-commented, buggy piece of crap to the public, while keeping the corporate version under wraps. Yahoo released their next version of the YUI Library the other day, this says it all:

YUI was released internally at Yahoo! about six months before it was released for public use under a BSD license in February 2006. Although the internal and external versions of the library were identical, the way we built and distributed them was different and we managed those differences with separate versioning tracks. Today we’re merging the internal and external project versioning and reaffirming that the YUI you can download here is exactly the same YUI Library used all across Yahoo!. Hence, we’re retiring the old public version series (which had reached 0.12.2) and we’re unifying the versioning of this release at v2.2.0.

Aside from the YUI Library and Patterns, theirs great video tutorials from industry folks (YUI Theater), including a total of 10 videos by Douglas Crockford covering all aspects of JavaScript.

YUI Blog
YUI Library
YUI Design Patterns
YUI Theater

Yahoo Pipes – amazing, intense, awsome…

Monday, February 12th, 2007

I can’t figure out what’s better – the actual application (Pipes) or the UI component widgetry developed to make it happen. The concept is simple, then again the best ideas are.

Pipes is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator. Using Pipes, you can create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant.

And that’s exactly what it is, you take feeds (RSS, Atom, etc..) and using an crazy UI, create new ones with rules and filters.
So what could you do?

This is the first official product to come out of Yahoo!’s Brickhouse and I’m sure not the last.

Friday wrap-up #4 – The Peanut Butter Manifesto

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Update (Nov. 20 2006): The more I thought about this manifesto the more annoyed I became. This reeks of shameless self promotion. Furthermore after learning about Garlinghouse’s track record and reading Kevin Kelleher article from the TheStreet.com I couldn’t agree more:

So, now heads must roll at Yahoo!. If so, I’d like to nominate the first one: Brad Garlinghouse.

Things have been busy this last couple weeks, but nothing really that I can disclose. That coupled with things coming up prevented me from writing a wrap-up the last couple weeks.

I came across across an article on MarketWatch about the Peanut Butter Manifesto – an internal (now external) memo written by Yahoo! exec Brad Garlinghouse. After reading other reports, I learned that this has been circulating inside Yahoo for the last couple weeks now. Garlinghouse is a gutsy guy a confused fellow and actually (had) shaved a Y into the back of his head. Initially I thought this was purposely leaked as a precursor to big changes coming – after reading the memo, I think it may have been purposely leaked but for other reasons..

I’ve heard our strategy described as spreading peanut butter across the myriad opportunities that continue to evolve in the online world. The result: a thin layer of investment spread across everything we do and thus we focus on nothing in particular. I hate peanut butter. We all should.

The entire letter can be read from the WSJ.

Friday wrap-up #3

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

This was a busy week, a lot of catching up from all the time spent at CASCON last week. Continuing on from last week, I’ve gotten more intimate (?) with Dojo and its inner workings. I wrote about Dojo a couple months ago, and I’m still really impressed with everything going on there. A lot of big name sites are built off this toolkit, including Meebo.

IBM results came out last week, the System i had a rough quarter, but IBM did well overall. Last year at this time (3Q05) the System i had a break out quarter due to an upgrade cycle. This year (3Q06) there were no new upgrades and results were the same as 3Q04. This article sums things up:

IBM revenue for the System i fell 22 percent in the third quarter of 2006, or 23 percent at constant currency when compared to the same period of 2005. At the same time, nearly every other major IBM business unit saw revenue increase. Overall, earnings rose 47 percent compared to the previous year, up to $2.22 billion on revenues of $22.6 billion, which were up 5 percent.

The supply chain issues IBM faced in the second quarter of this year for System i sales, which were connected to a 7 percent drop in revenue for System i over the second quarter of 2005, have cleared up. IBM CFO Mark Loughridge noted that IBM’s supply chain did a superb job delivering System p, i, z, and storage but faltered over System x deliveries, contributing to the low rise of 4 percent for the System x. System p revenues increased 10 percent, and System z was a breakout star with a 25 percent increase in revenues while IBM delivered a 16 percent increase in System z MIPS (millions of instructions per second).

For the System i, IBM says 3Q06 compares to a particularly strong 3Q05 quarter, which was driven by upgrade activity from a fully refreshed roadmap, which in turn caused slowing revenue as customers leveraged those previous upgrades. Overall, IBM notes that System i revenue performance remains dependent upon cyclical upgrades.

I was at a Halloween fund raiser for Diabetes last night, it was a good time for a good cause. I’m amazed that no matter what type of social event I may be at, there’s always someone thats directly involved with the System i in some way.

In other news, RedHat got murdered this week in the markets. Cisco announced they would be creating a fork the RedHat’s version of Linux and providing half price support until the new year. If any good can be seen out of this, it just re-affirms RedHat’s dominance in the Enterprise Linux market.

FireFox 2 came out this week, it generally seems more responsive, but definitely not as polished as it should be. The memory leak issue doesn’t seem to have been fixed, since as I type FireFox is using upwards of 80mb memory and climbing. The new spell checking feature is great though, any work misspelled get underlined in red, right click the and suggestions appear.

Yahoo’s bet on the future of the internet

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

Yahoo! is making a strong bet on the future of the internet becoming a social application. They realize that people don’t care so much about search results, as opposed to how these results are delivered. While Google, ms, etc. compete on search, Yahoo is steadily creating/buying a network of application (Buzz, Answers, Flickr, etc.), which use the internet to not only connect people, but use the knowledge of the individuals to produce a synergy, which could potentially be greater than any horizontal search could provide.

But one thing still remains, for Yahoo’s plan to work, they need to commoditize search, the catalyst: Nutch – an open source search engine started by Doug Cutting (creator of Lucene). This project was sponsored by Overture (Yahoo) for a while, but as of January 1st 2006, Yahoo! has hired Doug full-time:

On the first of this year, after four years as an independent contractor, I accepted a full-time job with Yahoo!. This isn’t as big of a change as it sounds. For much of the past four years my work on Nutch had been in-part funded by Yahoo! (and Overture before they were acquired by Yahoo!). I’m still primarily working from home, and, so far, entirely working on open-source stuff: Lucene, Hadoop and Nutch. The biggest change is that I don’t have to draft contracts, submit invoices, etc. I can now instead better focus on the technology and the open-source process.

This is brilliant on Yahoo’s behalf: Make search so widely available (and easy to start up), that eventually thousands of vertical search engines will exist. The trend has already started, tons of vertical search engines have popped up (with venture capital funding), an example krugle.com.

Microsoft’s Xbox loss per unit $126

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

It was expected that Xbox would sell at a loss, most consoles in the past have. iSuppli research crunched some numbers and came out with a loss per unit of $126 US. The idea: make money off the games. In a recent issue of Technology Review, there was an article about Halo 3. Take a wild guess when Halo 3 is supposed to come out? ….. When PS3 launches.

An up-close look at the components and other materials used in the high-end version of the Xbox 360, which contains a hard drive, found that the materials inside the unit cost Microsoft $470 before assembly. The console sells at retail for $399, meaning a loss of $71 per unit — and that is just the start.

Other items packaged with the console — including the power supply, cables, and controllers — add another $55 to Microsoft’s cost, pushing the loss per unit to $126. These estimates include assumptions that Microsoft is getting a discount on many components.

IBM has the right idea:

IBM also has designed chips at the heart of the competing video-game systems — the Playstation 3 from Sony and Nintendo’s forthcoming Revolution system, both of which are due next year.

Skype to sell phone kits at RadioShack

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

It looks like eBay is taking Sykpe to the next level, signing a deal with RadioShack to sell kits for its web based phone service.

Skype Technologies, which counts 66 million users of its free- and low-cost Web-based telephone services, mainly in Europe and Asia, said on Sunday that it would distribute Skype phone gear through 3,500 RadioShack stores.

The move into the retail market promises to raise Skype’s profile with American broadband users, who have begun to switch from traditional phone systems and use alternatives that rely on Internet connections.

Skype is able to get past most firewalls, so even if you’re connected through VPN, you can use your Skype phone/account with no problems. This is true for example at McMaster University, where most of the campus is wireless and you connect through VPN.

A couple months ago I read an article in Technology Review about one of the early fathers of F-Secure — he forecasted that the next huge virus craze will be through Skype. This makes sense, half the battle is already won by getting through the firewall.

Google Analytics shut down for new users

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Just as I got excited to try out Google Analytics, Google shut it down to new users. Apparently since it went free there had been serious reliability issues. An article on ITworld.com says:

This is the latest snafu to hit Google Analytics since last Monday, when Google began to offer it for free. That same day, Google Analytics, which used to cost US$199 per month, began to experience serious performance problems as new and existing users alike struggled to access the service.

I’m curious if it specifically tracks and differentiates users who access the website through AdWords or normal search/direct URL access. I know a lot of people are concerned about fraudulent AdWords clicks, etc. Once it comes back, I’ll look into it more closely.

Mozilla to attack when Vista launches?

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

FireFox recently passed the 100M download mark, only 6 months after they reached 50M. I guess the real question is how many people actually use the browser regularly? On average, say each person has 2 computers (work and home), format twice a year… that 100M could be lower.

…(FireFox) may see a big fall after the leader in the browser market Microsoft’s launches its Windows Vista operating system … alongside the newer version of the Internet Explorer. A Gartner analyst even suggested, “Much will depend on how Microsoft ties Internet Explorer to its big releases next year”.

I wouldn’t be surprised if whenever Vista launches, Mozilla initiates their largest marketing effort to date. Over the summer, the ‘for profit’ arm of Mozilla was formed — see Mozilla re-Structure — and I’m sure one of their goals is to make sure FireFox grows post Vista. Furthermore, large companies in the past have pledged large amount of money to Mozilla, including AOL back in 2003. What I want to see is IBM and Google publicly inject a huge amount of money for a total Mozilla marketing effort.

Below is the 2 year Alexa traffic chart of mozilla.org — growth is obvious. Below that (un-fair) comparison with microsoft.com

Mozilla Alexa

Mozilla compare MS Alexa

“Google Finally Goofs Up” – Motley Fool -> Google + Sun

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

When I read the PR that Sun was going to team up with Google to push StarOffice, I felt the same way Tim Beyers felt. In a well crafted article for Motley Fool, Tim bashes the move by saying:

Go ahead, type your hate mail. I can take it. Just remember that when you read that I think Google (Nasdaq: GOOG – News) may be the most brilliant of all the copycats out there. But teaming with Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW – News) to push StarOffice? Why, Google? Why?
You don’t really see StarOffice as the white-knight alternative to Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT – News) Office, do you?

and…

Again, the problem isn’t with the software. It’s with Microsoft’s utter dominance of the market. Numerous published reports suggest that there are anywhere between 400 and 600 million global users of Microsoft Office. Last year, Sun told U.K. trade journal Computer Weekly that there were 40 million Star Office users worldwide. Really? OK, but I wonder if this is only counting downloads…

Who knows.. with Google pumping in some new technology, a few patents here and there… you never know

Microsoft: Bill Richest American… MS: Unfortunate Marketing

Monday, September 26th, 2005

First things first, congrats, yet again, Bill is the richest person in America. Forbes released their “Richest Americans” – here is the vitals on Mr. Gates’ wealth:

Net Worth: $51.0 billion
Source: Software, Microsoft – Self made
Age: 49
Marital Status: married, 3 children
Hometown: Medina, WA

On an interesting note, many of the richest people to date, made most of their money though leveraged buy outs (LBO’s). Ethical? Right? Their on the list.

On the flip side, Microsoft should really examine their marketing strategy. Over the summer, while driving to IBM, I would hear radio commercials advertising Windows XP…

A couple days later I learn that Microsoft started a large scale global advertising campaign promoting Windows XP.

Microsoft, take it from me, the world uses your OS – literally the world – everyone – start with a better product – or better yet, just tell me why Word must start in Safe Mode to work.

What Do I Want To Do Today? – Just start my computer, that’s it, just start and run.

MSN is starting to get creative with their ads. Might as well, 150 million people use MSN every month. But when I see ads like this – I can’t help but say “Why???”

MSN about box

Ok – if you see in the About Box, I have MSN 7.0 – why is it telling me to download it again?

Its not all bad with Microsoft. I’m sure if a Mac OS or Linux OS was used on almost every computer in the world, they’d have problems too. Executed independently, I’m sure Windows or any major OS would be just fine – start adding third part software, virus/worm threats, external hardware and some overall bad programming – what do you get? Global advertising campaigns telling the world your still the best choice.

Microsoft in talks to take over AOL

Thursday, September 15th, 2005

In an amazing, but almost expected turn of events, Microsoft is in talks with Time Warner to possibly take over AOL. Keep in mind, ICQ is part of AOL. Furthermore, a little while back Microsoft acquired a VOIP company.

Microsoft is aligning itself with Google, and in a sense working faster and stronger to maintain their position.

In a Sept. 14th article on CNet, Bill Gates said:

In fact (Google), they have this slogan that they are going to organize the world’s information. Our slogan is that we are going to give people tools to let them organize the world’s information. It’s a slightly different approach, based on the platform-ization of all of our capabilities and not thinking of ourselves as the organizer.

Bare in mind a couple days ago, eBay took over Skype. I wouldn’t be surprised if a partnership formed (in some fashion) with Google, Skype, or Yahoo!

We’ll see, Google Talk is good – but it’s very simple – they have to get better, fast.

Technorati and similar blog search engines seem to have a serious competitor

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Technorati and similar blog search engines seem to have a serious competitor now. Google released today their “Google Blog Search”. With Yahoo! and Google having their technologies so developed, is there any hope for vertical search engines like Technorati surviving?

I’ve spent a fair amount of time studying Nutch and Lucene, and it’s good to see an open source search engine in the works. But it’s only a matter of time, till all “major” vertical search engine topics will be covered by one of the big time search engine companies.

It’s been said before, (and Technorati has the idea) it’s not always about the product but the…

Bell Labs and Lucent’s “gamble” on Quantum Computing

Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

Over the past couple years Bell Labs has divested much of its core research. I’m not sure why, but one explanation could be Lucent’s stock performance over the past 5 years.

Lucent 5 Year Chart -- Copyright BigCharts.com

I’ve never been too interested in quantum computing, but last month Technology Review had a great article on emerging technologies, and one of them was quantum. The article was especially useful since it outlined not only the basics, but the status of the research now, and were it’s expected to be in the future.

One of the companies leading the charge for quantum is Lucent’s Bell Labs. Even though the technology is still a decade away from solving serious problems, Lucent believes in a payback through the development of secondary technologies.

Part of its motivation is the belief that the hardware research may pay off for Lucent long before quantum computers arrive, yielding advances in areas such as miniaturized lasers and optical components.

As the article says, for the general public quantum computing doesn’t have many applications. But for research and science, quantum computing could one day be used to solve certain problems millions of times faster than conventional computers.

Google employee fired for blogging — Feb 2005

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

This happened a while ago, but it’s hilarious. An employee of Microsoft quits, goes to Google, and then a couple weeks later is fired by Google. Why was he fired? For blogging and advertising on Google – Here is a timeline of his Google career, as seen on SearchEngineWatch:

  • January 17: He posts about starting work at Google.
  • January 25: He gains attention after Philipp Lenssen at Google Blogoscope blogs about Jen’s blog and some critical remarks about Google on it. The blog posts disappear soon after.
  • January 26: The blog returns, along with Jen’s explanation of why he pulls some of his material down.
  • January 31: The blog gains attention again, after ads for it are spotted on Google.

You can’t do stuff like that. I imagine he felt like some super hero going to work for Google, ditching Microsoft. But you can’t parade stuff like that publicly. Google has a market capitalization of 80.55B, do you think they want a kid making posts like this?

Ballmer & Microsoft vs. Schmidt & Google — round ?

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is definitely a passionate man. No matter what company he’s leading, he’s willing to fight to the bitter end, and is no stranger to battles. Before heading Microsoft he was an exec at Sun Microsystems and Novell, which both fought and swallowed up other companies.

Numerous Microsoft employees over the last couple years have defected to Google, so it was no surprise to a read in an article at FairFax and a post on Slashdot:

At some point in the conversation, Mr. Ballmer said: ‘Just tell me it’s not Google,” Lucovosky said in his statement. Lucovosky replied that he was joining Google. ‘At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office,’ Lucovosky recounted, adding that Ballmer then launched into a tirade about Google CEO Eric Schmidt. ‘I’m going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f***ing kill Google.’

The article had Mr. Ballmer’s response saying:

“…gross exaggeration. Mark’s decision to leave was disappointing and I urged him strongly to change his mind. But his characterization of that meeting is not accurate.”

It may sound a bit heated, but in the end, its good business. It forces companies to be more creative, make better products and hopefully the best will survive.