Oct. 4, 2007 Fairchild 50th Anniversary Part 1

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On Thursday, October 4, 2007 Stanford Libraries and the Bill Lane Center for the Study of the North American West sponsored Fairchild Semiconductor’s fiftieth anniversary with founders Julius Blank, Jay Last, Gordon Moore and venture capitalist Arthur Rock. The panel was introduced by Stanford University President John Hennessy and moderated by Leslie Berlin of the Silicon Valley Archives. The widow of Robert Noyce, Ann Bowers also attended.
Continue reading Oct. 4, 2007 Fairchild 50th Anniversary Part 1

Oct. 2, 2007 SDF Outsourcing

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On October 2, 2007 at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Palo Alto, SDForum hosted a panel on “IT Outsourcing Today: What Matters the Most?” Sylvia Burke of Pillsbury Winthrop introduced moderator Rusty Weston of My Global Career and a panel including Dean Davison of neoIT, Ross Tisnovsky of Everest Research Institute, and Michael Vax of Luxoft Canada.

The discussion focused on results of 213 nationwide interviews with Independent Software Vendors (ISV) professionals and their key priorities, critical needs and best practices when outsourcing. Over ninety percent of ISVs with more than ten million dollars in annual revenue will outsource. The median average budget of an outsourced project is $137,000 but can run into the millions.

Globalization means offshoring more than to just India, which has over a third of the market. Surprisingly, Singapore takes up a fifth of the market. Russia takes 19% and China only 11%. The China numbers do not reveal the enormous domestic demand.

There is a recent trend toward nearshoring. ISVs on both US coasts are more likely to nearshore to Canada than Mexico. Vancouver is the first choice for West Coast ISVs, perceived as being closer and more secure than overseas. ISVs that use providers who multisource tend to be happier with their experience than ISVs that stayed domestic-only.

Despite being able to search the world for people, there is a shortage of people with the right combination of skills and experience. There are simply not that many experienced SQL database developers or XML coders to successfully complete a project on time and on budget. They cannot be found inside ISVs, inside the country and perhaps the world. Cost may be a factor, but finding the right person is crucial.

ISVs worry about the following factors in the following order: location, cost savings, security, attrition rates, education, experience, scalability, communication, language barriers and domain expertise.

Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sept. 27, 2007 STC DITA

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On September 27, 2007 STC Silicon Valley chapter presented IBM’s Andrea Ames and Jennifer Fell’s discussion of Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) at VMWare’s offices in Palo Alto.

We want information anytime, anywhere and on any platform so it was appropriate that this IBM presentation take place at VMWare. IBM has managed to navigate almost a century in the technology business and VMWare has just started its journey. Both want to get useful information to customers.

IBM is a big tent these days with a lot of different people in it. Gone is the stereotypical white shirt and black tie. I still run into people who have worked their entire lives there. I know people who are second or third generation IBMers, an unimaginable possibility to most workers these days. Technology changes too fast for most companies to adapt, and yet IBM managed to do just that by hiring people like Andrea Ames and Jennifer Fell.
Traditionally, large corporations have silos where information and processes flow from top to bottom and seldom across the organization. Writers are responsible for their product’s documentation and seldom see that used beyond their particular turf. The customer demand for information breaks down these barriers. Customers do not know or care that the hardware comes from one division and the software another. They want the information from two or more very different sources to merge and work together as well as the product they buy.

Ames and Fell told the story of how they helped change the mindset of “my product, my manual” to “my technologies, my solutions”. DITA helps break down the barriers and allow documentation components to be moved and integrated across product lines. Writers need to keep in mind all the ways their work will be used. In many ways the process broadened their understanding of the company and its customers.

If you get the chance, hear their story and learn how it can be done.

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Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 8, 2007 SDF eBay Disruptive Tech

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On August 8, 2007 at Pillsbury Winthrop in Palo Alto SDForum’s Emerging Tech SIG hosted eBay’s Adam Trachtenberg talk on Disruptive Technologies.

Adam Trachtenberg started out earning his degrees at Columbia before starting Student.com and TVGrid.com. He is considered by many to be the world’s expert on PHP. Today he is the senior manager of Platform Evangelism at eBay.

For more than a decade eBay has made the right moves to stay ahead of the game. They moved way beyond selling Pez dispensers and into all sorts of social commerce. They changed the way small and then large businesses sell merchandise. PayPal has become a gold standard for financial transactions. Skype changed the telecommunications game. Other ventures like Shopping.com, Renting.com and Stubhub.com redefined their markets.

The challenge is to stay innovative as the company grows. Big companies do not reward risk taking. Fortunately eBay is based in Silicon Valley and surrounded by a culture of venture capitalists who don’t expect all of their projects to succeed but will be happy if one in ten does. The challenge is to encourage that attitude in a corporate setting.

Trachtenberg is looking at disruptive technologies in commerce. The buyer experience of moving from web page to web page and ultimately to a Buy button is changing. The page is starting to remain in place with graphics or windows flying in and out if it. They have been working with beta versions Adobe’s Air (Apollo) platform and developing a new desktop application called San Dimas.

In case web-based applications don’t go away, eBay is also looking at Facebook. Now that Facebook has opened up its product to developers, it provides a real world test on disruptive social commerce ideas. They will continue to look for new ways to build their business.

It is only disruptive technology if you do not understand it.

Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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