Monthly Archives: December 2014

How the technology industry is beginning to rethink Moore’s Law

Is confidence in Moore’s Law dwindling? Is it dead already? Or did the concept actually exist prior to Gordon Moore’s coined theory and has continually evolved over time as it will continue to do long past the end of a silicon-centric era? No matter the stance, there is buzz in the industry right now about what the future holds.

The reality is, the literal definition of Moore’s Law that every 18 months you can get the same number of transistors (or Silicon Functionality) for half the price is reaching its limit. However, the concept of consistent cost/performance gains is very much alive through adaptation. Specifically, as silicon scaling alone no longer delivers cost-effective innovation and cannot meet the performance demands of cloud, big data, and analytics, the technology industry must rethink how to deliver on the promise of Moore’s Law. Continued progress will take a very different path from today’s results-challenged “tick tock” development cycle based on the technology scaling observed by Gordon Moore — and it will disrupt the hardware industry.

The “tick tock” approach of moving to a new chip manufacturing technology every two years and then updating the chip architecture but leaving manufacturing unchanged in the years in between is not meeting the silicon scaling requirements of today’s modern environment. Processor speeds aren’t increasing at the same pace anymore, and in turn it’s becoming quite expensive to get performance out of silicon. To expedite innovation, it’s time to look differently at the approach — move beyond processor-only design to take into account software, post-silicon materials and most importantly the benefits of an open, collaborative ecosystem.

A similar trend happened in the automotive and commercial aviation industries, where innovation agendas have expanded to support exponential advancements beyond those offered by their initial technology exploitation phases. For instance, in commercial aviation, from the Wright Brothers to the Concorde, the industry largely perfected flight times or aircraft speed. Now, as it has become very clear that technology cannot really support any further “speed” improvements, the industry looks to improve on the creature comforts that airline passengers have come to expect — from overall cabin design, like the 787 Dreamliner, to gourmet food options and personalized services. Similarly, in the automotive industry, when it comes to horsepower and engine design, generally, now that manufacturers have made it possible to travel over 100 mph, you aren’t going to see many differences in performance from a Dodge Challenger from the 1970s to today’s 2014 Dodge Challenger, for example. Advancement in automotive design now becomes more about safety and comfort amenities like airbags, satellite radio, and improved energy efficiency.

And for the IT industry, as the technology-driven components of microprocessor performance are hitting their technology asymptote of exponential improvements, a few forward-looking companies have come together to develop a new innovation model that disrupts the traditional “closed” nature of chip and server development in the past. The idea is to find innovations to carry forward the promise of Moore’s Law improvements through different technologies. Through open development of hardware and software and allowing intellectual property to be licensable to other manufacturers, the post-silicon scaling innovation era is already upon us.

The initiative, led by the OpenPOWER Foundation, is built around a new chip innovation that delivers the high performance customers need. By collaborating on new solutions that can be customized within data centers for new workloads such as cloud services or data analytics, the OpenPOWER Foundation is creating an opportunity to personalize systems to fit specific needs.

For instance, OpenPOWER member Nvidia developed a high-speed interconnect technology for linking its graphics processing unit (GPU) with IBM’s microprocessor, enabling data to move back and forth between them extremely fast. By opening up the licensing to the OpenPOWER Foundation members, it could lead to new systems that are up to 100 times faster than today’s.

Similarly, by opening up a new I/O standard called CAPI that enables communication with flash devices with a much lower software overhead, IBM and OpenPOWER partners Redis Labs, Altera, and Nallatech have created a NoSQL database server that can reduce storage costs by as much as 5x by replacing normal DRAM technology with flash technology at the same performance levels.

Moore’s Law is not dead, and I truly hope it never dies. I hope our industry will be able to innovate new ways to deliver that promise for a long time. Efforts are underway to discover what’s next post-silicon, such as carbon nanotubes, and non-traditional computational approaches, such as cognitive computing and quantum computing. In 10 years, it’s possible that completely different types of systems from what we know today could exist.

Right now we do not know what will be the winning technology to carry us forward. However, there are a few things we do know. First, no one company, alone, can spark the magnitude or diversity of the type of innovation we are going to need. Second, we are going to need innovation at every level in every discipline we can muster, to provide the required solutions in a post-silicon scaling era. Technology providers that collectively adapt and embrace bold, new ideas will not only survive, but thrive.

Brad McCredie is an IBM Fellow and president of the OpenPOWER Foundation.

More information:

International Business Machines Corporation, abbreviated IBM and nicknamed Big Blue (for its official corporate color), is a global technology and innovation company headquartered in the Northeast US. IBM is the largest technology and … read more »

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Rudolph and the reality of reindeer

 

Parents: don’t let your children read this article… JB+reindeer Rudolph and the reality of reindeer


Reindeer are so closely associated with Santa Claus that many people assume they don’t really exist.  Unlike Kris, Kringle, reindeer are real and are indigenous to the Nordics, northern Russia and China, Canada and Alaska. Oh yes, and the Arctic – home of the North Pole.


Most people believe reindder and caribou are the same animal but a genetic analysis published in Nature Climate Change shows they are different, but closely related. In the words of Don Moore, a wildlife biologist for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, reindeer are a “mostly-domesticated race of caribou.”  Unfortunately their population is in severe decline – perhaps as much as 60%.


Reindeer can’t fly but they can swim up to six miles per hour. They partly owe their swimming skills to their coat. The hair that makes up a reindeer’s coat is hollow, trapping air, which provides insulation for warmth and buoyancy for swimming.


Rudolph’s shiny nose was designed to guide Santa’s sleigh but it may not have been needed. Researchers at University College London discovered reindeer are the only mammals that see ultraviolet (UV) light. As the lead researcher said, “reindeer can not only see ultraviolet light but they can also make sense of the image to find food and stay safe. Humans and almost all other mammals could never do this.”


By convention, we leave cookies and milk for Santa.  To give Santa the strength to make it around the world in one day, the milk should probably be from reindeer.  Reindeer milk is
20% butterfat and 11% protein; in comparison, cow’s milk is only 4% fat and 3% protein.


Oh, and one more thing.  Of the more than 45 speicies of deer, only female reindeer grow antlers.  Since males shed their antlers in early Winter while females shed theirs in the Spring, the odds are Santa’s sleigh is powered by females.

 

Maybe Rudolph should have been called Rudelle.

 

 

 

This blog was originally posted on Manage by Walking Around on December 22, 2014.

Please follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

 

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Elong.com’s Chinese Travel Website Goes Down

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One of China’s top travel, hotel, and airline booking websites has partially gone down.
ChinaWirelessNews.com

Why Employee Happiness Should Top Your List In 2015

There have been numerous studies done regarding employee happiness and how happy cD03YjY1MzBhYmUyOThiMDA2ZjFmMDYwNjAzZWVmNDUwNSZnPTRiOWRlOTk4MjNmZDU5YTgxNjJiMTY3OTZjMDdiNTk2 300x200 Why Employee Happiness Should Top Your List In 2015employees are more productive and lead to faster revenue growth, but why is it so hard to make (and keep) them happy and what can you do about it?

Today I want to share four facts about employee happiness and provide some advice you can act on right now to make sure your employees are getting happier every single day they come in to the office.

Fact #1: Employees are far more likely to have new ideas on days when they feel happier

Ideas are the lifeblood of any productive company. Ideas are used to solve problems, and solving problems for customers creates more revenue. If employees are more likely to have new ideas when they are happy, then think about what might make them unhappy and try to fix at least one of those issues.

A few examples? Too many meetings. A noisy office. A boss they don’t like. You probably instinctively know why your employees might be unhappy, so try to fix just one issue this week.

Fact #2: Business unit sales and profits at one point in time are predicted by employees’ feelings about the organization at earlier points in time

How your employees feel about your company is extremely important. And the best way to shape how they feel is to help them understand how their day-to-day role fits into the bigger picture.

Don’t be afraid to share revenue forecasts and company goals while explaining how each of your departments (if you’re a large company) or each of your individual employees (if you’re small) directly contributes to the success or failure of your company as a whole.

Fact #3: Higher employee engagement translates to stronger customer relationships and, in turn, better financial performance

Engaged employees love what they do. They are empowered to do their jobs and don’t have to deal with company politics and egos of managers. Removing seemingly small barriers for your employees can give them a huge jump in engagement, meaning faster revenue growth and delighted customers as a result.

Fact #4: More than 70 percent of employees in the typical company are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged”

Being a disengaged employee essentially means you come to the office, do the minimum amount of work that’s expected from you, and leave. Rinse and repeat every day.

What’s the secret to engaging your employees? I believe there are three things.

First, they need to understand your mission and vision – why are you doing what you’re doing and how does it positively impact your customers?

Second, they need to feel empowered to do the best job they can.

Third, they need to have a direct feedback channel to you (small company) and/or your leadership team (larger company). Giving your employees a way to share ideas and feedback to improve everything from meetings to communication to the way you provide customer service can transform your company and drive high employee engagement, too.

Conclusion

Keeping your employees happy and engaged is critical to the continued success of your company. But how do you do that when you’ve got so many other things on your plate? One of the best things you can do is simply provide a way for ideas and feedback from your employees to make their way to you.

That could be via email, one-on-one meetings, or company all-hands meetings for small organizations. Larger companies should consider employee engagement software (such as StackHands) that enables leaders to collect ideas and anonymous feedback from their employees. The end result should be happier employees and a better place to work.

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Innovation » future of business

Salesforce’s $20 Billion Man–Keith Block Aims High

 Salesforces $20 Billion Man  Keith Block Aims High

When Keith Block was famously hired by Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff after his firing from Oracle, his was seen as a fundamentally important hire. Indeed, Benioff stated at the time that he felt Block is the best sales executive the enterprise software industry has ever seen. Block was appointed as president and, arguably, heir apparent to the Salesforce throne. 

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5 big data trends to watch out for in 2015

What a difference a year makes. At the end of 2013, the industry was still debating whether Hadoop and related big data technologies were going to become mainstream or were just niche technologies for Internet companies.

A year later, the answer is clear — Hadoop is without question the foundation of the new data stack, the first of the Hadoop distributions (Hortonworks) is now a public company, with others sure to follow. This is putting a spotlight on the next layer up the stack — big data analytics — and the use cases that will be unlocked and transformed by collecting and connecting vast quantities of raw data and empowering business analysts with new capabilities. In 2015, we’ll see the impact of big data across almost every industry sector, and there will be a multitude of proof points that go beyond vague claims often seen today.

Here are five trends to watch for over the next 12 months:

1. Big data analytics fills security void

Big data analytics will emerge as a powerful complement to traditional security software.

Massive breaches at Target and Home Depot in 2014 highlighted the degree to which the dizzying array and vast quantities of data that corporations collect has quickly outgrown the capabilities of traditional security software. The increased complexity and varieties and volumes of data enterprises currently manage make it nearly impossible to analyze everything, especially given the fact that most security platforms don’t talk to each other, and the cost of processing huge volumes and varieties of data is both cost and time-prohibitive.

But big data analytics can be used to identify suspicious behaviors and patterns that might indicate a network — even one protected by disparate security solutions that don’t talk to each other — is under attack. Over the past six months, CISOs have started to look at big data analytics as an important new tool that will enable their security infrastructure to identify and remediate “low and slow” advanced-persistent-threat attacks that might otherwise be undetectable. Look for this trend to accelerate and expand to other sectors in 2015.

2. Faking it with big data will no longer cut it

We’re in a historic technology replacement cycle that has only just begun to affect the enterprise sector. Many experienced vendors are trying to sell rebranded technologies that cannot handle the volume or variety of data that new platforms and technologies can. While it’s taken a few years for big data analytics to emerge as a fundamentally distinct solution from traditional business intelligence and data warehouse technologies that came before it, the next year will see less buyer confusion about what characterizes next-generation analytics. Buyers will come to understand what is possible with a modern stack and what to look for when choosing a solution.

3. The Internet of things comes around to big data

The hundreds of device makers building the Internet of things will get serious about big data — or get left out in the cold if they don’t.

Data generated by the household devices, wearables and industrial devices that comprise today’s Internet of things is growing exponentially, but almost all of it sits in silos created by different device makers. The real value is in connecting the dots across these silos to understand patterns of behavior, interaction and failure modes. This is critical to understanding how devices and services are operating, understanding the flow of communication that could constitute security threats, and weaving together dependencies and interdependent failure modes. Using Hadoop as a data lake to store Internet of things data is a required first step, and a range of analytical approaches follow.

For example, Opower uses big data analytics to help customers at more than 100 utility companies better understand their usage patterns and suggests how they could save money by consuming less power.

In 2015, look for the discussion to shift to how the device makers are turning to data analytics to help the nascent Internet of things market reach its full potential.

4. Companies reorganize around big data analytics

According to a recent Gartner report, 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies are ill prepared to exploit big data. Companies of all stripes and sizes will increasingly adopt a data centric approach as they set strategy, encourage collaboration among colleagues, and interact with customers.

A few years ago, big data tools were available only to corporate giants that could invest in proprietary and largely inflexible infrastructure. The advent of the Hadoop data lake is democratizing — and quickly accelerating — the game, forcing companies of all sizes to react if they want to remain competitive. In 2015, big data’s ability to connect dots in ways never before possible will prompt companies to rethink the way their employees collaborate and use data to identify and quickly adapt to opportunities and challenges.

For example, Riot Games, the 1,500-person gaming company most famous for League of Legends, has a task force of employees who are responsible for making their company more data-driven. They use big data to analyze behavioral data of 30 million users to find bugs in the software and to make data-driven decisions on which new features to introduce into the gaming environment.

5. The winning architecture emerges, leading to vendor consolidation

After more than six years of development, testing and early-stage roll outs, the big data landscape is ripe for a shake out.

Countless startups have either taken the wrong architectural road or are focused on niche products that cannot meet their customers’ overall needs. In 2015, look for some of these small players to fail, or become acquisition targets as larger vendors look to cobble together end-to-end solutions.

With big data indicators all pointing north, we’ll see enterprises making bigger strategic bets in 2015 as they look to vendors that offer end-to-end solutions built to handle massive amounts of disparate data without requiring data scientists. Look for both Cloudera and MapR to go public in 2015, and plenty of discussion about those companies (both public and private) that can thrive in this new world of big data — and those that are on a fast decline. It’s shakeout time.

Ben Werther launched Platfora to transform the way businesses use big data analytics. Before founding Platfora, Ben was vice president of products for DataStax and head of product at Greenplum.

More information:

Platfora is a software company based in Palo Alto, Calif., building a revolutionary BI and analytics platform that democratizes and simplifies use of big data and Hadoop. The company was founded by Ben Werther, former product head of G… read more »

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The Power Of Strategic Sacrifice

deciding which path to take e1419910150887 The Power Of Strategic SacrificeDo Less Better: The Power of Strategic Sacrifice in a Complex World isn’t the first book on focus, nor will it be the last. But the element that separates this book from the others is the “how” – how one finds focus in a business world that is more complex than ever before. All the way from the C-suite’s choice of markets in which to compete, to the daily to-do list, the “how” is one’s capacity to make tough strategic choices and tough strategic sacrifices.

There’s a difference between tough choices and tough sacrifices. Tough strategic choices are about the business. Tough sacrifices are about you. Tough sacrifices claw at your emotions because they require that you do something that you don’t want to do. These are the sacrifices that rob you of sleep, sober your disposition, heighten your stress, and choke your patience on the little things in life.

Giving up something of value for the sake of other considerations is the essence of sacrifice

Giving up something of value for the sake of other considerations is the essence of sacrifice. People do this all the time in their personal lives, but few practice sacrifice within the workplace. For small to medium sized companies facing the clout of giant competitors, this is a critical success factor. That’s not to say that sacrifice can’t help mega-corporations mired by complexity, reacquire nimbleness.

In Do Less Better, I discuss several disciplines and examples of successful focus and sacrifice as they apply to leadership, strategy, marketing, branding and culture. In its pages is a tool-kit of road-tested strategies for leaders and managers keen to cut through complexity and clear a path to personal, departmental, and corporate agility and resilience.

Here are a few ways to clear that path:

1.  Appreciate that the best strategies require sacrifice

Focus on clarity and single-mindedness. Great strategies tell you what not to do.

2.  Specialists still beat generalists

Product, market and customer sacrifice ensures viability and strengthens long-term competitiveness.

3.  The small guy doesn’t need deep pockets to outmaneuver the giant

Great ideas and the willingness to sacrifice for differentiation are the best bargains in business.

4.  Don’t let Big Data can cripple you

Focus on the information that matters, sacrifice the rest.

5.  Never try to be all things to all people

You’ll be rewarded for your distinctiveness.

6.  By doing less, better, companies thrive on innovation, know-how and mindset

Bulldozing the walls of complexity never comes without sacrifice. The earlier and the bigger the sacrifice, the easier it gets afterward. Sacrifice must remain a part of the organization’s DNA. You are never finished pruning what you plant.

johnbell The Power Of Strategic Sacrifice

For more on Do Less Better: The Power of Strategic Sacrifice in a Complex World, including a free sneak peek at the introductory chapter, check out www.dolessbetter.ca

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Innovation

Best of 2014: 10 Highlights from This Year in Salesforce

 Best of 2014: 10 Highlights from This Year in Salesforce

So long, 2014. You were a good year, and we’ll think of you fondly.

But before it’s all over, here’s a last hurrah: the top highlights from 2014, tailored to those of you who (like us) might be a tiny bit over-enthusiastic about Salesforce. And in true Letterman style, we’ll count down from 10 to 1, where 10 = awesome, but 1 = most awesome.

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Elong.com’s Chinese Travel Website Goes Down

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One of China’s top travel, hotel, and airline booking websites has partially gone down.
ChinaWirelessNews.com

Top Marketing Predictions For 2015

Every year, as the calendar starts to wind down, we look to the new year with great hope and optimism. Maybe the coming year is the year when brands start to “market like the year we are in” as Gary Vaynercheck has eloquently said.

Screen Shot 2014 12 17 at 9.03.10 AM 300x175 Top Marketing Predictions For 2015In my top marketing predictions for 2011, I predicted that marketing automation would become a required part of the marketing technology stack (right), that marketing attribution would become a hot topic (not so right), Display media would make big budget gains (right) that we would stop asking about social media ROI (not so right) and that we would start to see a shift to content marketing (slow start but right.)

My 2012 Marketing predictions included CMOs struggling with talent (right), marketing increased focus on supporting sales (dead wrong), I also talked about Content Marketing delivered via social (right), augmented reality marketing (dead wrong) and also predicted a rise in video production from brands (right).

My 2013 Marketing Predictions included bets that content marketing conversations would mature. I thought branded content hubs would start to proliferate as paid budgets shifted to owned media. I also predicted the need for content strategists, social sales leaders and data scientists. Not a bad year for predictions?

For 2014, my marketing predictions were all about content, data and culture. I bet correctly that we would see more investment in content marketing, big data and marketing technology in general. I also predicted that HR would become the marketer of the employer brand which is a long term and slowly emerging trend that is hard to ignore.

My top marketing predictions for 2015

In 2015 we’ll finally realize that content is a strategic asset across the enterprise. Content and data are the important components flowing across the digital, social and mobile web. So content will become targeted and more personal! Content marketing will take a seat at the table, with budget and someone with authority to drive strategic content programs.

CMOs will begin to instill a culture focused on customers. Budgets will shift away from paid promotion and into brand content that their audiences actually want to consume. Marketing organizations will move away from silos based on channel or functional ownership. Branding, advertising, PR, demand generation – all will begin to dissolve into three areas: data, technology, and content.

And as video and visual content continue to dominate the consumer landscape, brands will focus more on entertaining and informing their customers through visual storytelling.

2015’s top marketing trends

  • Budgets shift out of paid promotion (advertising), “through” social (ads on social) and into owned media (brand content hubs)
  • Paid distribution gets the budget it deserves
  • TV advertising budgets will decline by more than 10%
  • Banner ads (less video or mobile) will also start to decline
  • Content marketing leaders and departments become more prevalent inside large enterprises
  • Strategic enterprise-wide content programs will start to replace tactical campaigns
  • Video production inside brands becomes more consistent
  • Podcasts continue as the hot content marketing technique
  • Employees will be tapped for their expertise and encouraged to contribute to brand-owned media
  • Adobe, Salesforce, LinkedIn, or IBM look to acquire or build content marketing platforms

For more great trends and predictions for marketing in 2015, check out:

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

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Innovation