Irving Wladawsky-Berger Vice President, Technical Strategy and Innovation, IBM
www.research.ibm.com/ Blog: http://irvingwb.typepad.com/
Wladawsky-Berger is vice president of Technical Strategy and Innovation at IBM, responsible for identifying emerging technologies and marketplace developments that are critical to the future of the IT industry. He has led a number of companywide initiatives like Linux, Grid Computing and, in October 2002, IBM’s On Demand Business initiative. He is visiting professor of Engineering Systems at MIT and adjunct professor in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the Imperial College Business School. Wladawsky-Berger was born in Cuba and came to the US at the age of 15, in 2001 he was named Hispanic Engineer of the Year.
- WM: how did you change the way IBM worked with research; 15 years ago there was little happening
- IWB: IBM came very successful with mainframes, but companies that are great do not always stay. As the environment changes the leadership may not adapt to it. The mainframes were so profitable; there was all this innovation in the labs that was not been noticed. Even the PC business was treated as a toy, the profits were so low it did not get the attention. IN the early 80s we had a prototype of a multithread system, we wanted to do the OS but the message from MSFT was that Billy would be pissed. So we did not do it
- WM: so how did it get well?
- IWB: I went through that as I’m not sure that a company can reinvent it self without near death
- WM: so apple were within 90 days of bankruptcy
- IWB: so that may be why. for us, we got a new leader, the internet was a lifeboat. We had lost the franchise for the mainframes. so we clutched the internet like a lifeboat and I do not know if you can do great in business without that fear
- WM: I want tot talk about virtual worlds as a business environment, but before, Steve Balmer was at my conference in spring and he said he had 2 main businesses, both gifts from IBM, one was the desktop software the other is the enterprise business and he had come to realise in the last 2 years, that the business model they had was not the model that could apply to all products, so needed a multiple one. One new one was search and advertising and the other was consumer electronics., to go after Apple,\. So here is the question, when you did not want to make MS unhappy, he had about 100 employees. Balmer has 72k employees, he’s trying to go after the nimble..so how?
- IWB: once the near death clears out the brain, we switched fro being inward facing to be a much more market facing company. MS does not Linux, have been fighting open documents. I wonder if the real fight is in MS it self. When you are doing this in the market you are setting culture, if your people see that your culture is to attach Linux or ODF then how can the people believe that you want to be this innovative company in other places. I do not know if it can be done, IBM could not.
- WM: Bill has bragged about the labs, researchers
- IWB: the labs are the back office, but the game is won in the field not in the back office
- WM: IBM embrace these things and the latest is virtual worlds, so how do these worlds got to do with business?
- IWB: if you are smart in a company like IBM, you watch what your smart people are doing and see where we should move. In 2006 there were ore and more people having meetings in Second Life, on their own. No one had told them they found the experience of dealing with each other than a conference call. an in person meeting is better but if the are all over the world there are only so many meetings. There’s more chit chat in the SL meetings. We saw this as an evolution in the social networks, the killer apps are meetings and learnings and training. We went to see what our clients are interested in. So much of what people do in business is collaborative, this is becoming a major collaborative platform, these are complementary things
- WM: there are other ways, with conference calls there are no visual queues, so Cisco and HP etc are working on these video conference
- IWB: the are missing 2 things- one their costs is really high, SL is cheap. And their technology does not scale, 2-3 places only, In IBM we have built classrooms in the worlds and it is more scaleable.
- WM: so looking ahead, the number of gestures etc in SL is limited, you would not get the full set of gestures
- IWB: did you see Happy Feet? It is possible.
- WM: in 5 years?
- IWB: we need to do a lot of research, on what people do,. At MIT the media lab is doing a lot of research on the digital world. Hybrid real and digital world. The tech is cheap, the innovation comes from looking how people are using it. At IT we look at a global university, the courses are on the web that is the passive content but if they want me, then there is more to do. Everyone in business can have meetings in virtual . This is the evolution into a collaborative space.
- WM: the web, is still mainly text
- IWB: yes. but as the visual things take over it will just be one more chance to collaborate and the potential is enormous.
Richard Saul Wurman, Author, Architect, Founder of TED, www.wurman.com http://www.192021.org/
With the publication of his first book in 1962 at the age of 26, RSW began the singular passion of his life: making information understandable. He chaired the International Design in Aspen in 1972, the first Federal Design Assembly in 1973, followed by the National AIA Convention in 1976, before creating and chairing TED (Technology/Entertainment/Design) conferences from 1984-2002. He is the current Chair of the TEDMED Conferences. A B.Arch and M.Arch 1959 graduate with highest honors from the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Wurman’s nearly half-century of achievements includes the publication of his best-selling book Information Anxiety and his award winning ACCESS Travel Guides. Each of his 81 books focus on some subject or idea that he personally had difficulty understanding. Presently, he is working on his latest project 19.20.21. which he created and chairs with his four partners: Larry Keeley, Jon Kamen, Michael Hawley, and Robert Friedman.
- WM: Richard started off as an architect; ended up as an information architect. he has published 81 books. he invented and conducted the finest conferences I know of, the TED conference. He sold it for a lot of money…did a good deal there. It’s not the same conference now. It was like going to college for 3 days. You got the best, all speaking for 15mins. The dinner party he always wanted to have. He did this for 18 years. So. with refs to virtual worlds, avatars, online community, I’ve been online almost everyday since 1983. So why is everyone here?
- RW: we live in an age of also, we do this, we’re also online, we get snail mail etc. we choose the best…i could not live without email
- WM; he sends everything in caps!
- RW: I can’t type nor spell, so just do caplock. I make lots of phone calls, but email has advantages. Nothing is better than face to face. Conversation is the best…go to school you are not taught communication. In the last lot of books, I’ve tried to capture how to do a conversation. It’s not as good as a face-to-face. We look at making the connection. Matt talked about piracy…I did a conference, created a fable, ‘what if could be’. First thing was to change copyright to the right to copy. A book I did in 2000 I did not copyright, I put it out there.
- WM: I’ve stolen lots of things from you, I called him up and asked him what to call it – he said call it D so we did.
- WM: we are talking about leadership and how ideas stick. I’ve been a reporter for almost 40 years. When I started, the first place I went was Detroit, 1970, the auto industry was like the tech business today. The CEOs of the companies, they did not talk to press, customers, they did not talk to anyone. I drove across the state to catch the head of GM for 5 minutes. The CEO was nothing to do with the message and brand. Now, Jobs could be the quintessential CEO, he’s a public figure, he is the brand. Is that good for business?
- RW: I don’t care if they should or should not. I know that I never had a politician nor a head of a company speak..they cannot tell the truth in public, I want people to tell the truth and they can’t. We were all surprised at the Police Chief candour, because we do not expect. Jobs does not tell the truth, he can’t be. I tell the truth, I may not be factual but it is my truth!
- RW: last December I was thinking about what I was going to d. I picked up a business week, all these companies were calling themselves Global. I spent time with Fedex and National Geographic etc. There is not directly comparative data. So I started 192021, so 19 cities, will have 20million in the 21st. we are usign the same way of collecting data, this is what I’m starting to do. we are going to do an exhibit, live, one for each city, it will change as the city does. It’s going to be online, on a memory stick going to do 40 books, slices of the data
- just starting on that; last night we received our fund raising DVD, it explains about the project. it’s a complicated thing to get the data with reasonable accuracy and to understand it. There’s a group in Maryland that collects medical data everyday for all over the world and the countries call them for info (except for the US as the CDC won’t let them).
Independent Advisor on social computing for business
Semple is a well-known writer, thinker, public speaker and independent advisor on social computing for business. As the former head of Knowledge Management for the BBC, Semple pioneered the use of weblogs, wikis and on-line forums, enabling the staff to work more effectively. Semple’s unique experience enables him to provide inspiration on this wired-up world of work and strategies for how businesses can prepare themselves for challenges and opportunities that come with new technologies.
- collaboration in the BBC – introduced blogs, RSS, wikis etc into the BBC
- 15 yrs ago, had a serious problem that had been escalated all through the experts. Got to the top consultant, very disengaged, did a lot of tests and told him there was nothing wrong!!1
- looking at the boards and forums, found information from people, and made some decisions that allows him to change the way he lived
- evident that the gatekeeper role of the specialist was not good for him, there was more information out there that helped him
- in the BBC, a lot of time in the World Service, 47 languages and there was more collaboration in that department than in the rest of the BBC
- later ended up managing some of the editors, 2 groups – film editors and video editors. Film were very arty and creative and video people were engineers, more ‘manageable’. But the people who changed things were the film editors.
- I ended up running a unit called digilab – looking for new technology and how to use it in the organisation
- some of us were playing on the web at the time, using their own servers…got some of these tools in the business – did not have to speak to IT! had own servers
- Got Chris Locke in to speak to a bunch of managers, to introduce them to the web. CL started the talk about how his life was falling apart, how he was splitting from gf..and then he stopped and stated that this is how they talk on the web – it’s personal, not objective business speak
- we used advocacy to grow the use of the tools. Last yr there were 23k using the forums, 5k using the wiki. Slow growth
- Asking questions is often a problem, admitting you do not know things can be an issue. Add on to that the feeling that managers feel they are in charge, in control, these tools were a challenge. We encouraged the staff to talk about anything and some of the threads tested even me. One of the threads was about being single..which turned into a dating thread!! We let it go..and 3 days later one of the producers came in and said the thread had done half the research for a programme he was making. Being human and social had helped.
- The BBC had done a number of attempts to get people to behave socially – lots of top down initiatives. the forum had done more than those to develop the one BBC
- One thing he believed was the content had to be collectively owned..avoided going in and ‘sorting’ it. It would not change if it was always controlled. They went in and asked questions…tried to get people to think. There’s no one currently managing the system, but it still grows, it still has life.
- at home there’s all this stuff that people are doing and then they come to work and get told what to do.
Tags: BIF, BIF3, Euan Semple
I just won an Halo3 Xbox and a copy of the Halo 3 game at the MIXX IAB conference I’m at (put your card in the bowl and see what comes out). Whilst I’m keeping the game, I actually bought an XBox360 Elite about 3 weeks ago so do not really need 2 (at least I do not think i do). So I’m looking for creative ways to give this away or to raise some money for it in a way that is going to benefit someone/charity (Jayne..you can’t get it as it won’t work there!). Suggestions welcome in the comments or via email
Why would Firefox cookies on this machine (macbook) prevent me from accessing my blog.bibrik.com site and the admin tool behind it? Everytime I want to take a look at just does nothing unless I delete the cookies from the last time. Anyone know?
I like this new Facebook app from the New York Times, as described over at the Read/Write Web. New questions every day that then link back to the story in the online paper, driving traffic back to their site (and improving advertising impressions). They’ve been pushing the app out via email groups and the like, which is a great way of leveraging connections.
Last night I had dinner with a few people at Red Bamboo, a vegan restaurant. This place seems to make it’s name from the fake food it provides – soy protein shaped and flavoured to pretend to be meat. We had ‘Chicken’ wings, ‘prawns’, just ‘meat’ in general.
There you see fake prawns, shaped and painted to look just like the real things. If that was not surreal enough, it got even weirder as the talk turned to Star Trek (it was a table full geeks) as one of the party discussed an out standing question he had about Wesley Crusher at the end of his tenure on the show (names and actual question hidden to protect them). Luckily, another guy had Wil Wheaton on IM and proceeded to ask the question. So our pondering friend finally got the answer to something that had bugged him for years.
I’ve said before, I like Mahalo, and Jason Calacanis’ latest push is for is How To pages, such as the How to Fly With Kids that he posted about today. But I have one thing to add:
Please remember that the English-speaking world is bigger than the USA, that flying takes place outside of USA as well and that the web reaches far outside the USA. So, when writing an article, however good it is (and this one is pretty good) that removing obvious local-only references and making an attempt to think globally will benefit all. There is more to flight guidelines than the TSA and diaper is a funny old word used first in Shakespeare but now only used in the US and Canada for nappy.
Many of the groups had taken the proposed closure of the amusements as their themes and protest was rife. A common comment in the crowd was that this was the last parade, although the official website states that they will be back.
I want one..now. I’ll take a WildCharger for Christmas – Lay your devices on it and it charges all your batteries. Via PSFK
I went along to the NY Tech meetup last night and had a good time. Five short presentations from companies in the NY area, plus a couple of extras from James Hing of Hot or Not (who I also met with on Monday at an IAB event) and Dave Weinberger who gave a 10 minute version of his book. However, Dave and Sanford have done a great job of blogging the actual presenations, so I’ll just add my impressions.
- Goloco. After the success of Zipcars, Robin moves into shared journeys. Join and you can find friends who are going to the same place as you. Lovely implementation, aimed at existing groups rather than random strangers who meet online.
- ExpoTV. I’d never seen this before but superb extension of the review space into video. The revenue share for the reviewers, at $5/video is a good idea. They are realistic about advertisers getting into the mix and provide a way for it to be transparent.
- LiveLOOK. You can share screens via a browser without any downloads, so it can be an alternative to stuff like webex without a download. A paid service, especially useful for service agents, although I was uncomfortable with an answer to a security question (what’s to stop you just putting numbers in until you find a live feed). There are free alternatives to this, ie MSM share desktop, that will be useful for c2c usage but there is an attraction for b2c or b2b.
- Adaptive Blue. I loved this, taking metadata from pages and extending them via contextual menus in the bowser or direct via links. Installed!
- Mogulus. This got the biggest reaction of the night, with a vary cool demo. The service allows you to run video and do lots of cool overlay stuff, live broadcast, plan programming etc. Another entry into the lifecast area, but more focused towards linear programming
The other 2 sessions were a last minute overview of Hot or Not and how James is putting the service onto Facebook and a run through the ideas behind Everything is Miscellaneous from David; it’s a pity I’d already bought the book and read it, as I did not have it with me to get it autographed. One last aside, I found it strange that there was a cheer raised when it was announced that 4 of the presenters were women – if you have to bring attention to it, you need to work on doing it differently.
The boat trip was fun, getting that close to the falls. Everything just got soaked – glasses and camera – but the blue macs they hand out do a good job. There was a moment as the boat tried to hold steady in the churning water and the mist and spray dripped everywhere and the breeze created by the force of the fall chilled that I thought enough was enough, but the time is well judged and the boat moves away before it gets too bad.
Next was a walk to the top of the falls; I was surprised at how shallow the river seems as it pours over, you can see the bottom easily. The roar of the falls is loud, sounding like traffic on a motorway, a steady drone.
Niagara itself just feels a bit of a mess. There are casinos there and tacky stores and museums, all neon and glitz but little substance. Even the guidebook despairs; makes me wonder how they make the money, who goes into them, but they do. Please stop, those who chose to go into them.
Three hours and I’m on my way back, on a full bus that takes 12 hours to drive from New York to Toronto. I’m returning the quick way on Sunday, a plane that takes a hop and jump. On the way up we flew over the falls and you clearly see the break in the earth and the maelstom of mist the boils off the horseshoe. If you are ever in the area, go and visit, it’s a site to behold.
I think you could describe PodcampNYC as a success. Not sure what the post-mortem will bring, but everyone I spoke to seemed to enjoy it. I’ve got sessions to write up and thoughts to process, but in the meantime, just take a read of the CNET piece which has also landed up in the New York Times.
Can anyone take a look and see what I’m doing wrong. My search does not seem to search – if I use the term Twitter it does not pull up my recent post about Twitter.
And the site does not display correctly on IE7 (and I think 7) in that the rightest sidebar falls off and moves to the bottom of the page. Which I guess is to do with widths and I need to play with some relativity I think. Any help gratefully received. Cheers.
Google have long been known for their clean simple interface – a search box and a few links, making it simple to understand what to do. And then they brought out their personalised pages, for you to add your own data feeds, widgets and tools. Now they take this a step further, with the ability to change the style and image on the page.
First of all, choose your style from the six themes offered:
Then pick your favourite graphic. There’s some really cute art here, with lots to look at
The themes change throughout the day based on your location…I’ve started with the Sweet Dreams one. They are calling out for you to suggest new themes they can implement; but I’m pretty sure that at some point there will be a way to add your own theme and images.
Update: Tony has been digging and found the themes have some Easter eggs