Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Does the end always justify the means

I came across this banner ad on top of a news web site.

Here is what this marketing campaign has done;
  1. Clearly identified its target audience - conservatives
  2. Picked a hot topic to grab attention - Waterboarding.
1 and 2 may result in a lot of short term sales and some profit. Is that only goal of marketing? What charter does the marketing person closest to you (including you) have? Is it exploit every possible situation for money? Are you proud of that mission?

Just some questions....

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Don't try this at work.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

How can observing the world help a software product manager?

Observing The World by ♪ María ♥♣ Trébol ♪

Here are just a few things I observed and (hopefully) learned from,

  1. Marketing: Champion toyota of Austin is running a campaign with the tag line "your car is worth more now than it was a year ago". They claim they will pay you way over blue book value for your used car. Pretty smart marketing campaign. This is one of the best car buyer's market in decades but most people have a functioning car so it is unlikely they want a new one given the economy. Champion Toyota has to unload the new cars in their lot and so they focus on the obstacle, your used car. Hopefully they have a model which helped them crunch the numbers. Here is the question for me: How would I apply this to software?
  2. Trouble Shooting: I drive a 12 year old car. It runs like a charm (most of the time) :-) It has a manual transmission and my wife noticed that the reverse lights do not turn on. The mechanic diagnosed the problem to a switch that sits by the gear shift and is worn down. The right way to solve the problem is to replace the switch and that involves taking the whole tranmission apart. That is way more $$ than I want to put into my 12 year old car. Larry suggested an alternative, he said he could rewire my reverse lights to bypass the broken switch and connect them to a manual toggle switch he can add to my dash. The total cost for this is less than 100$. I am not saying this is the right answer, but it was a great option to offer to me. Here is the question for me: How can I apply this next time I get a customer support issue?
  3. User Experience: I was recently involved in a church event which involved moving to a new location and having a grand opening. I watched the senior pastor plan for the event by walking into the new facility and pretend to be a middle aged man, a old woman and a mother with multiple kids. In addition, he sat in as many seats as he could to see the event through the eyes of his audience. Agreed it is hard to know your audience as well as he knows his but the lesson is still powerful. Here is the question for me: How can I try and view the finished product from the eyes of my audience before I design the product?

What did you learn from your daily experiences?

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

What they say about carts and the horses


There was once a woman. She decided to help the world by solving problems. She thought to herself, if I could improve on existing solution or come up with new solutions, the world would be a better place. 

She did just that and the world liked that. Soon there were a few other men and women who started to think and act like her. They all either tweaked existing solutions or came up with new ones. 

A funny thing started to happen, along the way some of them got wealthy. I mean really wealthy. Just a side effect, the world's way of thanking you I suppose :-).  (Now I am speculating) I think this group of folks liked the side effect, liked it a lot but I think they still did what they did because that was their passion, a way for them to tap into their mojo. The "make the world a better place" thing.

Then a whole bunch of other people came along, studied the first set of people and a strange thing happened. The means became the end. The side effect became the goal and the world no longer had to get better but just stay needy.

..... good news is the story is not done yet.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

And you thought great products were easy to create

Question: Why is it that companies with billions of dollars who can hire any designer or design firm in the world put out such crappy products?

Answer: Excellent products require more then just a good designer or a good design agency—they require humanistic and cultural vision, courage and discipline in execution. There are two reasons why crappy products are so common: first, most “companies with billions of dollars” don’t want to charter new ways because they are in a defensive setting in order to defend their existing business—and when the billions and the business are gone, it’s too late for change. Second, big companies normally have neither the people nor the processes to innovate and there are no real rewards for taking the risks and efforts required in the endeavor for excellent products. In my career, SONY under Akio Morita was the only big company which rejected the common addiction to mediocrity and went for world-changing innovations. Now they are stuck as well….

(accent mine)

From a conversation between Guy Kawasaki and Hartmut Esslinger: http://blogs.openforum.com/2009/04/14/the-inside-scoop-on-design-hartmut-esslinger/

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Times They Are A-Changin'

The cost for a full implementation of the eClincalWorks EHR purchased through Sam's Club is $25,000 for the first clinician in an office and $10,000 per additional clinician. It is a Software as a Service model, leveraging the cloud computing infrastructure that eClinicalWorks has deployed throughout the country. The price includes:

*Office hardware (desktops, laptops, printers)
*Installation of the hardware
*Installation of the eCW software clients which Dell includes as part of the operating system image on the hardware
*Data Center support
*e-Prescribing integration
*Specialty specific templates i.e. cardiology, pediatrics
*12 weeks of project management
*5 days of onsite training by eCW staff
*Free unlimited online webinars (offered 30 times/week)
*The first year of support

I think this is disruptive hidden as mundane. I did not expect to see enterprise software on sale at Sam's Club :-).

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Take that iphone-i-will-force-att-on-you world


I am hoping this will eventually significantly improve my "quality of life" with the bb-flip.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nod to SXSW

I live in Austin; so it is hard to ignore SXSW. No I am not a luddite :-)

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Tonight we learn that Goldman Sachs is lending the money we lent them
to their employees . You can’t make this stuff up.
Concurrent with this is the fact that Obama would like our military
veterans to fight for their healthcare benefits with PRIVATE insurance
companies . It seems like the NFL’s Gene Upshaw is now running Obama’s
military healthcare plan. Lovely.
Other than Stocktwits, Comedy Central is your best bet for financial
advice for the forseeable future and god willing Comedy Central will
purchase or partner with us to bring us one step closer to financial
programming nirvana.
Source: http://howardlindzon.com/?p=4081

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Pace of Wealth Destruction = (Order of Mag.) x Pace of wealth creation

  1. Freddie Mac reported a $23.9 billion Q4 loss and said that it will need $30.8 billion  from the US Treasury. For all of 2008, the company lost $50.1 billion. In 2007, they lost $3.1 billion. Their two year loss exceeds the $42 billion that they earned from1971 – 2006. Fannie lost $25.2 billion in Q4.
  2. Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman said that up to 45% of the world’s wealth has been destroyed by the global crisis. He said it’s harder to find people to screw.

 Source: Market Update – March 15, 2009.

Author: Sandy Leeds


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Wednesday, March 11, 2009



Simplicity can be your friend, if you know what you are doing.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Oh Snap

1. Yes I am geek
2. You have no idea, how many of our life's problems arise because of this fundamental mistake.
3. If you think this is Duh!, go read Black Swan

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

If I can give you ONE secret for 2009 it is this



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We have arrived

This is the accompanying picture for an article titled "Working at Night Messes with Your Metabolism". Yessir, this is now the proud domain of the Indian software engineer.

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Sign of the Time / "Compassionate Marketing"?

FedEx Office to offer free resume printing March 10

Austin Business Journal

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Ascent of Money - highly recommended

I spent ~2hrs this weekend watching the entire show online. It is brilliantly produced. Starts from the root of the word credit and Sumerian clay tablets which are the first known instance of "pay the bearer" documents; moves to the Medici family - the first true bankers and ends in the middle of 2008. It takes us through the beginnings of the stock market, the bond market, the futures market, the options market, the Myron Shultz model and along the way includes interviews with some of the key players. 

As one of the commentators pointed, if there is a bone to be picked, it is the fact that this piece criticizes the private market but takes no stance on policy decision made by governments which led to disruptions of comparable magnitude. 

"In 2006 the world's total economical output was worth around 47 Trillion dollars (12 zeros). The total value of the stock and bond markets was 119 Trillion dollars and the amount outstanding of the strange new financial life form known as derivatives was 473 Trillion dollars. By the summer of 2007, it seemed as if earth had turned into planet finance".

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thence and Now

IMO this is not necessarily bad; as long as it is helping us fight the true enemy -> http://www.iousathemovie.com/ and not a political enemy of the party in power.


Lowest quintile: 4.3 percent
Second quintile: 9.9 percent
Middle quintile: 14.2 percent
Fourth quintile: 17.4 percent
Percentiles 81-90: 20.3 percent
Percentiles 91-95: 22.4 percent
Percentiles 96-99: 25.7 percent
Percentiles 99.0-99.5: 29.7 percent
Percentiles 99.5-99.9: 31.2 percent
Percentiles 99.9-99.99: 32.1 percent
Top 0.01 Percentile: 31.5 percent


h/t -> http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This has the potential to be the "breadboard" for the current generation

Maybe, I am little too aspirational but the potential is enticing. :-)

Source:: MAKE: Blog: $100 Linux wall-wart launches

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Change management in the real world

I came across this diagram in a technical context but I think it is more general purpose than that. I think everything from presidential campaigns to entrepreneurship will fit this model.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Testing Posterous new bookmarklet.

testing posterous's "share bookmarklet". btw this is a inside of the new grace sanctuary.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Crowd-storming within your company

"Rebooting" or reinventing the company started with a daylong brainstorming session where we broke up into teams to talk about our best ideas. I was lucky enough to be in @Jack's group, where he first described a service that uses SMS to tell small groups what you are doing. We happened to be on top of the slide on the north end of South Park. It was sunny and brisk. We were eating Mexican food. His idea made us stop eating and start talking.

That paragraph is my favourite part from this blog post ->  http://www.140characters.com/2009/01/30/how-twitter-was-born/. Of course the make up of the group had more to do than just the act of brain storming as a group. Of course, it needed funding by people with vision to last long enough to matter. (Btw, Twitter just raised 35mill in funding last week in this economy, so you bet it is around to stay).

I am just pointing out that this is a cool way to get your base excited if you are a company and your employees are wondering what's next.

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Time to bring liberal arts back in vogue for undergraduate studies.

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curiosity + talent + different baggage - what will the next generation do?

Time please stand still by aknacer

I was reading a love story on msnbc which curiously, is categorized as a "Tech and Gadgets" story. I was struck by how easy it was for these two young people to connect from across the world based on a share interest.

I should point out that they are both very talented; he cut his teeth on photoshop and she on GIMP. The tools aside, I think we are going to see more and more of this in the future. Young people collaborating with an ease and speed that was science fiction to a generation before them. The only difference is that unlike the earlier generation, these two are not going to stop and marvel at the ease of collaboration. They are going to keep building, creating, destroying, experimenting and pushing the boundaries faster than ever before :-)

I cannot wait for it to happen. Happy Valentine's day everyone.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Teaching can be addictive

I am jealous of people who can create stuff like this (below). I need to find a way to include creating presentations like this as part of my job :-) Maybe that would be a good goal for 2009.

Below is a short video introduction to twiiter by the talented folks at commoncraft.


Twitter in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cost of being extraordinary

"The reason normal people got wives and kids and hobbies, whatever. That's because they don't got that one thing that hits them that hard and that true. I got music, you got this. The thing you think about all the time, the thing that keeps you south of normal. Yeah, makes us great, makes us the best. All we miss out on is everything else. No woman waiting at home after work with the drink and the kiss, that ain't gonna happen for us."

Transcript collected from House MD - 1.09 DNR
- http://bit.ly/EFa7

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Making "stuff" better

  • Why isn’t there an ice cream scoop with built in coil powered by AA batteries so it is easy to scoop out rock hard ice cream from the freezer?
  • Why isn’t there a coffee maker with back lighting that turns on when you pop open the water lid, so you can see clearly when you have reached 5 cups of water?
  • Why isn’t there a roof gutter with a latch based lid and removable units so all you have to do to clean your gutter is pop open the latch, remove the unit and rinse it?

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Point and click away

I am not a budding photographer and have no illusions about my skills :-) But I do like to keep working on my presentation skills (ala pz and duarte designs) so I went looking for a p&s camera that helps me see the world and record it for future use. I just placed my order for a Canon A590IS. It is perfect for the price(109$) I am paying for it. Plus I got a 4GB SDHC card  for 7$ (man, the prices are dropping).  It came down to choosing between the Canon A590 and the Fuji Finepix J10. The Canon was my choice due to 3 reasons
  1. Runs on AA's, I am notorious for losing my charger.
  2. Has image stabilization built in.
  3. Has rudimentary face recognition built in.
The biggest con for the Canon is its form factor but not a biggie for me.

Here are the links that were helpful to me in my selection process. Hope it helps you.
Happy 2009!

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