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RIM Patent Lawsuit on Appeal

[Blackberry] In case you missed it, RIM lost their patent lawsuit to NTP. On appeal, but if they lose then the Blackberry is in big trouble, and so are all those companies that buy Blackberries for their employees. As is Homeland Security who, according to this NY Times article, ordered the devices for congress

NTP is a bullshit patent-holding company that doesn't produce anything other than lawsuits. Another example of why patent reform is needed. If you buy patents and aren't in the business of producing anything with that patent then you are a parasite on the market. The failings of IP law are threatening the existence of the technology industry in this country. After recently looking into several startups, I've concluded that VC have added two things they want to see in any tech startup business plan: a list of patents and an offshore development plan.

Go donate some money to the EFF to help them reform intellectual property law.

Update: Slides for Data Quality Keynote Are Available

I posted the slides for the Firstlogic data quality presentation as a PDF. These don't have the notes pages so there isn't as much context as there should be. I'm working to put up a complete presentation with intact notes, as well as audio in a downloadable format. I'll update this post when I make the audio available. In the meantime, Firstlogic has a streaming version available which I described in another post.

Update: Jose Cardenas has been kind enough to post an AVI (53 MB)for me.

Late Projects: Dante Applied to Data Warehousing

[Inferno]It isn't exactly project hell, but it's close. I've been to project hell several times. Being a connoisseur of the various circles of project hell, what I'm doing now is more like heck, with a few dalliances in the first circle of hell. Thus, extracurricular blogging slowed down this month.

The nice thing about my current project is that it has a long and involved history, much like the history of napalm, with it's deep roots in the combative use of combustion going back to Greek fire. The project's history stretches back to the dim recesses of an earlier age, at least from the perspective of the users and sponsors.

I've never been on a data warehouse project that took more than a year to get from start to a usable application. The projects usually delivered a first release within 6-9 months, and the first deliverable was always usable. Until Project Speedbump.

When Fred Brooks answered the question "How do projects get a year behind?" with "One day at a time" he had not yet encountered the IT department of the 21st century. My answer at this point would be "One day at a time, in incredible leaps of weeks and months."

The problems we currently face have nothing to do with technology, users or project management. When this project is finished and I've worked through the post-mortem I will write a lot more about Project Speedbump because it is definitely instructive to look at the situations DW/BI practitioners can find themselves in, where everything is aligned perfectly behind the project except IT management.

"The Innovator's Dilemma" Slides and Audio

I had the opportunity a while back to hear Clayton Christensen, author of "The Innovators Dilemma", give a talk based on his book. He's a good speaker, interspersing his talk with stories while providing an overview of occasionally complex concepts. A variation on the lecture I saw is available online at IT Conversations. I put up three different sets of slides that all match pretty well with the audio available, and I think this one is the match to the mp3.

His primary Good Idea is that disruptive innovation causes successful businesses to fail not because those businesses are poorly managed, but because they are well-managed under the current market conditions.

The best example of this is DEC, which was successful for years yet imploded under the management that made it successful. They dominated the minicomputer industry for years, and were killed by technological innovation of the same sort that they used to muscle into territory formerly held by IBM. Clayton's summary of the management decision is that they had a choice: improve and introduce existing products that make 50% margins and sell for $200,000 while increasing margins and prices, or turn to lower-end products (PCs) that have 20% margins and sell for $5000 with decreasing margins and decreasing prices.

Short excerpt from chapter one of the book:

This book began by posing a puzzle: Why was it that firms that could be esteemed as aggressive, innovative, customer-sensitive organizations could ignore or attend belatedly to technological innovations with enormous strategic importance? In the context of the preceding analysis of the disk drive industry, this question can be sharpened considerably. The established firms were, in fact, aggressive, innovative, and customer-sensitive in their approaches to sustaining innovations of every sort. But the problem established firms seem unable to confront successfully is that of downward vision and mobility, in terms of the trajectory map. Finding new applications and markets for these new products seems to be a capability that each of these firms exhibited once, upon entry, and then apparently lost.

I've made my way through portions of the book and will probably finish some time soon. The lecture summarizes his basic concepts and might save you a read if you don't want to clutter your brain with lots of detail.

I should also point out that IT conversations is an incredible resource. Doug offers the equivalent of free attendance at some of the best annual technology conferences around. I spend a lot of time listening.


Data warehousing, business intelligence, IT strategy and architecture, and occasional interesting bits.

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