Showing posts from January, 2009

The Biz School Chronicles :: Personal Leadership Brand

"You have a strong personal leadership brand when your individual strengths deliver value to the people you want to serve."

A great interview I came across while doing research for a report I have to submit this weekend. The report is on Manpower Planning and related HRM disciplines. My question is, if you know your strengths and those whom you serve neither seem to possess the ability to recognize nor accept delivery, how should one react? Good question right? I would say it's a valid question for any manager, Human Resource or otherwise. Comments welcome.

Should Startups Focus on Growth or Profits?

Should Startups Focus on Growth or Profits? - Scott Anthony -
"Today's tough economic climate is surfacing an interesting debate: should emerging Web 2.0 disruptors prioritize financial results or audience growth?"

I would say growth in terms of product users. The option to grow might not be as lucrative as the option of showing profits to the VCs. But if you are planning to stick around, having a growing user base will provide you ample opportunity to fine tune the existing business model or create a new one.

But if you are in it for the short run, go for profits. By short run I mean those hit-n-run entrepreneurs (if you can call them entrepreneurs). These are the individuals who have neither the business acumen nor strategic vision to create a great company. They create a product, let it out in the wild, fish some users and using the resulting profits as leverage sell the company to the highest bidder. A typical example is Yammer (also highlighted in t…

Why you should lean on Open Source amidst turmoil

According to a latest post, Microsoft may disband the Popfly team. Popfly was their entry to the Mashup space with quite a bit of press. Google 'axed' their Mashup Editor this month and something tells me Yahoo Pipes may not last for long either. So what do all these have in common? They are proprietory, closed source software owned by companies trying to cut costs in a recession and when they are gone, no one can gather the pieces and rebuild. The users are lost without their familiar tools and will either have to look elsewhere or give up altogether.

Now take an Open Source offering such as the wso2 mashup server. Rarely in the limelight and overlooked by most tech pundits when talking about Web 2.0, Mashups or Social Computing, yet silently and steadily adding features. Features not only decided by corporate plans but demanded by a growing user community. Yes, as most Open Source software it might be a bit rough around the edges. But you can rest assured that once you ask, t…

Your favourite mashup server.. now on FB ;)

Become a fan
Post your ideas, feature requests, tips and tricks with other fans???Profit (..sorry I just couldn't resist. South Park FTW!)
I just created a page for the WSO2 Mashup Server on Facebook. Something I wanted to do for a while but never really got around to doing. They created a page for WSO2, which gave me the perfect excuse to put some time into it.. finally!

Our Iceberg is Melting

A simple but well written book I read recently, that tells a story of inspiring and managing change. It also has nice illustrations, unusual for a book of this nature. Then again, so is telling a fable about Penguins to demonstrate business principles. A good, satisfying read!

Obama's CTO choice may usher in mashup era

Obama's CTO choice may usher in mashup era - Computerworld Blogs
"Using information technology to enable data access can unleash creativity and ideas that can provide government and citizens with new insights. The benefits flow both ways. As Kundra wrote recently on his blog: The District of Columbia is bringing people closer to government through collaborative technologies like wikis, data feeds, videos and dashboards. We’re throwing open DC’s warehouse of public data so that everyone—constituents, policymakers, and businesses—can meet in a new digital public square."

Make sure you visit Washington DC's Data Catalogue to have a look at all the data available in various forms from Atom feeds to Google Earth meta-data files. Last year, they have held a contest where people could use data from this catalogue, create mashups and submit their cool applications. These mashups are in a directory named Apps for Democracy.

Hmm.. time to have a long look at this data catalogue …

The Biz Schools Chronicles :: Not to boast.. but..

Here's the story. We started yet another subject today. The last one for this semester but in no way the least, Human Resource Management. Our teacher (he refuses to be called 'lecturer') is Mr Bennot Pattornet a Sri Lankan with an MBA from the Columbia University, New York with over 35 years of experience working in 6 countries. Half way into the lecture he asked whether we read publications such as the Harvard Business Review. None of us did except one. Then he asks, and I quote "What are you people doing on your free time?" and went on with his by now frequent, "Pardon me for saying but.. You buggers are useless!". Needless to say it was a fun filled lecture, which I enjoyed immensely and will look forward to in the coming weeks.

So I drove home in the evening, showered, had my dinner and visited the Harvard Business Review site. Lots of content there and a must see for any business student (then again.. it's Harvard). But I digress. While browsi…

Oh Toyota, how I admire thee

.. the way you manage and lead at the same time!

Toyota managers to buy cars in slump -
A group of 2,200 Toyota managers have decided to buy the company's cars in an effort to help the Japanese auto giant withstand the global economic crisis, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

This is impressive, to say the least. As many times before, this too will go down in history and students of business will study it in years to come. The power of nurturing employees to think of the big picture than just themselves, their security and status is amazing. I always admired Japan and her children. Successful and powerful yet civilized unlike many others. Developed not just in the external, material aspects but inside as human beings.

They also remember their past. Not merely to learn from their mistakes, but also to keep in mind those who helped them when they were down. I'm sure JR would never have imagined the way they would repay the act of kindness we extended to them at the…

Google shuts down their Mashup Editor

Google Mashup Editor Blog: From Mashup Editor to App Engine

The Google Mashup Editor wasn't the best of their products, in my opinion (I thought that was the point of calling it a 'private' beta). Maybe they failed to realize where mashups stand in the hype cycle at the moment as well. Oh well ... I, for one am not surprised!

But, in a way this shows my prediction, at least on mashups is fairly accurate. This is the slope folks, hold on to something.

Google Gadgets for Linux

google-gadgets-for-linux - Google Code
Google Gadgets for Linux provides a platform for running desktop gadgets under Linux, catering to the unique needs of Linux users. It's compatible with the gadgets written for Google Desktop for Windows as well as the Universal Gadgets on iGoogle. Following Linux norms, this project is open-sourced under the Apache License.

An important area where Google Desktop for Linux is different from its siblings on other operating systems is support for gadgets. Now, the Linux version of Google Gadgets will extend the gadgets platform to Linux users. By enabling cross-platform gadgets, a large library of existing gadgets are immediately available to Linux users. In addition, gadget developers will benefit from a much larger potential user base without having to learn a new API.

.. and guess what. The WSO2 Mashup Server allows you to write gadgets for your mashups and host them in it. With this application, you can have those gadgets on your desktop. How …

Every project needs an entrepreneur

Some interesting points ...

Every project needs an entrepreneur | Open Source |
"Boards and committees are fine. Structure is a necessity. Transparency is obvious.

The real question is, should there be a name on the door, someone who takes the place of the CEO or (better still) the entrepreneur at a proprietary company?"

And if this truth hasn't been told already ...

"These Are some serious times
 All I can see round natty is violence and crime
 Full time for Rass to centralize socialize and realize
 To let the sun shine through out every day
 And let the moon shine through out the peaceful nites
 This is 7 times rise and 7 times fall but i dont really believe in the falling tings at all
 Cause life continues as it goes if u really want to no the true of the true isnt been told
 No no no no no"

 "To sometime u think peace in every ting
 It could b the first sign of distruction
 Say i wake up this morning for that i give thanks u dont no if u gonna live to c tomorow
 Life is much more precious than gold
 yeah yeah
 And if the truth hasn't been told
 So i say ... "

My Translation:

We live in troubled times,
All I see around is violence and crime
It's high time we come together as a society and realize
That we need to let the sun shine everyday
And let the moon shine in peaceful nights
Instead of rising 7 times a week just to fail 7 tim…

Pinpointing Products in a Hype Cycle

Looking back at my career so far, I see a clear pattern of the type of work I enjoy the most. Without doubt it's Research and Development. The bleeding edge stuff. Working at the R&D Labs of Virtusa as a Research Focus Lead before I moved on to WSO2, it was one of the best practices to read Gartner reports before investing resources on a new and potentially profitable technology. It is there that I was first introduced to the Gartner Hype Cycle. Every week the R&D leaders would get a mail summarizing the latest reports and we in turn would dig into interesting areas and do quick feasibility studies on upcoming trends.

When you have done this itteratively for several years, this pattern of thought kind of sticks to you. So everytime I hear someone passinately advocating a certain new technology, subconciously I try to see where it fits in the Hype Cycle. WSO2, where I work at the moment, is also a research oriented company. New technologies are put on the table frequently an…

The Biz School Chronicles :: Why Motivation is a Bad Idea

Yes you read right and I agree with Prof. Degamboda, who lectures us on Managerial Economics. Here's why;

Of late, I have been wondering whether the traditional methods of motivation, especially when applied to individuals, are flawed. Why? Imagine you have a bunch of engineers working for you. These engineers will have varying degrees of experience, some just graduating from the university, some with 1-2 years experience and others who are veterans of the industry with 5 or more years of experience behind them with scars to prove it. So theoretically, how do you motivate all of them? The original theory dictates that one should carefully analyze each individual and try to figure out exactly where they fit in a scale of motivation such as Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs. The next step would be to set goals according to each individuals current state in this scale ensuring that these new goals would pave way to the next level in the hierarchy.

But in many organizations we don't s…

Enterprise Mashup Patterns

Enterprise Mashups: New Book Highlights the Patterns
"Although mashups started out in the consumer space, their success makes a migration into corporate IT environments inevitable. Firms exploring this new software development model may struggle at first to understand the importance of mashups from a corporate perspective. In the upcoming book, Mashup Patterns, author Michael Ogrinz provides a collection of use-case driven patterns intended to explain the value of enterprise mashups to both technical and non-technical readers."

The author talks about 34 patterns in 5 main categories depending on the circumstances where mashups are used in the enterprise.
Harvest: Mine one or more resources for unique dataEnhance: Extended the capabilities of existing resourcesAssemble: Remix existing data and interfaces to serve new purposesManage: Leverage the investment in existing assets more effectivelyTesting: Verify the performance and reliability of applications
I skimmed through all 34 p…

SOA is dead, survived by offspring: Mashups, BPM, SaaS, Cloud Computing .....

Application Platform Strategies Blog: SOA is Dead; Long Live Services
SOA met its demise on January 1, 2009, when it was wiped out by the catastrophic impact of the economic recession. SOA is survived by its offspring: mashups, BPM, SaaS, Cloud Computing, and all other architectural approaches that depend on “services”.

The above is an interesting observation by Anne Thomas Manes. Actually, SOA isn't really dead, it just reached the "trough of disillusionment" in the Gartner Hype Cycle. The hype is gone, along with all the unrealistic expectations, which means that things can only move up from here towards enlightened adoption.

Enterprise mashups will pick up from this point, with other service dependent architectures. Finally, real adoption instead of hype and buzzwords!

Invoking Web Services from a Mashup

Invoking Web Services from a Mashup | WSO2 Oxygen Tank
"The objective of a mashup is to compose or mash information obtained from several sources. The WSO2 Mashup Server supports several ways and means of getting such information. Invoking external Web services (or mashups deployed on the same server) is a popular mechanism of obtaining such information."

In this latest article, Keith guides you through the 3 methods that can be used to invoke Web Services when writing Mashups in the WSO2 Mashup Server.
Using a generated JavaScript stubUsing the WSRequest Host ObjectUsing the Dynamic version of the WSRequest Host Object