Service Innovations 3

Bob Johansen, Institute for the Future

Andrea Saveri, Technology Horizons Program, IFTF

10 years into the future. They have been doing 10-year forecasts for 27 years now, making the Institute one of the few futures research firms to outlive its forecasts.

services, ART, and sciences. Key – era of the engaged customer. More demanding. And current customers are not happy campers.

Army War College now calls itself VUCA university. Virtual, Uncertain, Complexity, Ambiguity

Key transformation…

From provisioning goods and services to catalyzing experiences & transformation

Rethinking property rights required

Steady, explosive growth in services. Demographics, more choice, competition, internet, mobile & pervasive computing

Business services and institutional (health) services have tripled in the past 30 years but consumer services are mostly flat. Consumer complaints tripled 1995-2000.

Triangle. Services reflect comploex interdependence. Understand consumer content. Value intangible assets. Make complex knoweldge transfers. Mobilize diverse information, data, expertise.

Innovation: Platform oriented (cf. eBay & its trust mgt program). Social and transactional networks (Microsoft Netscan for cooperative problem solving). Cooperation based. New practices (world building games like Second Life).

Final line: Services Arts & Sciences.

Service Innovations 2

IBM Almaden Research Center
Service Innovations for the 21st Century
November 17-18, 2004

Jim Cortada
IBM Global Services

author of 50 books. Has been working on a 3-book series on the role of technology over the last half century

Past — Present — Future
all businesses are in the services business. Some just don’t realize it. Services have been, are, and will continue to be vitally important. In the factory, fewer than 10% are bending metal.

All industries implement new services incrementally but continuously, borrowing from fellow companies and other industries. It’s evolution, not revolution.

Speakers will have seven minutes to make a presentation. After half a dozen iterations, we’ll open up to Q&A.

Tom Hein, John Deere. Plows to tractors to construction equipment, to credit (’58), healthcare (’85), and tech services (’98). Well diversified. * * * Deere offers a GPS-based reference signal that enables a farmer to position a piece of equipment within 3 cms. * * * Ag market: industrial farming and “recreational farming” (where they do it for fun: the only growth sector). * * * Business process optmization, moving innovation through established channel * * * Future needs: repeatable process for designing and implementing services.

Bill McAllister, Siemens Power Generation. 1998 acquired Westinghouse Power Generation BU. Heavy manufacturing. What’s new here? The first power plant was in 1885; probably the service plan for that plant was their second sale. Bill wonders if he’s just here to explain to the adolescents in the IT marketplace how a mature industry operates. Service innovation is a major focus in Bill’s business.

Alec McMillan, Rockwell Automation. Automation standards and conformity. Once created, standards never go away. Think about government as a partner.

Surinder Prakash, IBM. Best practices. GE, Siemens, and IBM all focused on services from the top. Service Evolution is from traditional product to product-related services and finally to services innovation. Need execution: The Paper Jam at Xerox Gets Worse. It’s all about the customer. You’ve got to have the skills. A robust deliver infrastructure. Solution companies are not built in a day. Execution, Execution, Execution.

Scott Matthews, The Boeing Company. Structured flexibility and management leverage: value capture with real options. Real Options. The right to start, stop, or modify a business activity at some future time. Contingent — do what is right at the time. Options are valuable because they provide access to significant upside potential while containing downside losses.

Christian Crews, Pitney Bowes, Futures Strategy. Jim Collins, “Some of the most amazing inventions in history are not technology or products; they’re social innovations.” We’re beyond the services economy; we’re in the experience economy. Ray Kurzweil: The law of accelerating returns. Industry creation to Product Era to Service Era to Business Process Era. (Check this chart on the follow-on slides.) “We’re moving to becoming experts in our customers’ business so we can help them help their customers.” Dator’s Law: Any useful statement about the future should seem ridiculous.

A question about the impact of Service Oriented Architecture was answered by responses about the web (“We can’t afford to have someone hack a power generating plant.”) This strikes me as old-school thinking.

Providing the best solution probably requires more than one supplier. SOA is the road to providing joint solutions in real time. Yet Boeing, Siemens, and Deere reply with “we,” as if their company is the sole provider.

IBM Conference on Services

IBM Almaden Research Center
Service Innovations for the 21st Century
November 17-18, 2004

Global Innovation Outlook

Needless to say, Almaden has wi-fi, so I’ll be updating this blog throughout the event.

Mark Dean, VP in charge of the Almaden Research Center (500 researchers working atop a hill in the middle of a beautiful, immense park south of San Jose). Focus today is service innovations. If we don’t find a better way to implement services, we’re going to run out of people. Mark is looking for greater simplicity in systems and computing. (If his mom can’t run it, it’s too complicated, and she can’t remember to press the Start key to cut off her laptop.) IBM in general, and Jim Spohrer in particular, is founding the discipline of Service Systems, much as it developed Computer Science as an academic discipline 1950-73.

Ironically for a meeting on this topic, we arrived early, as requested, only to be told that we’d have to wait 15 minutes in the lobby while registration was set up.

Jim Spohrer shows that 70% of the U.S. labor force is in business and the rest of the world is just a time-delayed echo of the U.S. case. IBM needs to figure out how to lead innovation in services. Innovation is, in fact, IBM’s business. Technology alone is not enough to drive this.

  • Service Science. Current R&D group is multidisciplinary: capital management, computer science, O.R., MIS, MBA, Game Theory, Experimental Ecoomics, Insdustrial Engineering, AI, Computationsal Organization Theory, etc.
  • IBM has 180K services people.

Mike Radnor, Northwestern, heads up a consortium of companies (MATI) that have focused on how to improve the process of technology management for the past eight years. MATI has recognized service innovation as one of its highest priorities.

Take-aways sought.

  • Strengthen services innovation community
  • Maximize breakout interchanges
  • Focus on “where from here” steps at end

The Future

Solutions – the Intersection of Business and Innovation
Gerry Mooney, IBM, Corporate Strategy

Market Realities.

  • Rudest awakening of uncertainty since the Depression
  • As Larry Ellison said, “The is the recovery. Enjoy it.”
  • IT spend is down (companies are doing more with less; stuff is cheap)
  • Legacy of IT boom and bust, overpromising
  • “IT Doesn’t Matter”
  • Customers demanding more alignment between business results and IT investments

Five histrical cycles
innovation (eruption, frenzy), crash, deployment (synergy, maturity)

Customers (and IBM) want solutions. Hardware alone a commodity business. Migration is tough. Being adaptive is the key to migration. Deloitte Research on 650 global companies finds that #1 preoccupation of CEOs is New Product and Services Launch. (#2 is Economic Turnaround.)

Rethnkiing the Enterprise

  • 5% profit
  • 45% retained business processes
  • 45% outsourced business processes*
  • 5% spend is on IT

*redeploy resources to core

Gerry used a speaking technique I plan to steal. He began with self-deprecation, saying he didn’t know why he, of all people, had been invited to speak. This really wasn’t his area. Then he blew our sox off with an astute, convincing presentation. Lower audience expectations and then exceed them. I’d seen something similar in service delivery the night before. JetBlue had signs posted at JFK that this was to be a foodless flight. Then they pass out taro chips (blue, of course) and biscotti. Later, you get cheese and crackers. Like Gerry’s talk, it’s a pleasant surprise. Service metrics will need to factor in client expectations.

IBM must start thinking about process-specific companies: FedEx, ACS, Exult, Amazon associates, State Street. Not so important as IT (Accenture, EDS, M’soft, HP, Sun Dell, Cap Gemini) and ISVs (PeopleSoft, SAP, Siebel, mro, Sungard). The innovators are willing to give away the infrastructure in order to generate revenues from services. Think of Amazon; they take 7% for supplying a world-class platform.

A solution is an offering that combines technology and high-value services to solve a client’s business problem. Soutions spend continues to gain momentm and is estimated to represent nearly 72% of the overall IT market by 2007. CAGR of services is 12%; for products, it’s -1.4%

Uh-oh. Longer sales cycles, value-based pricing, realignment of the entrie organization, solution providers…

Process-driven innovation and Offering-driven innovation. (Is this different from managing core and outsourcing the rest?)

Question from the crowd: What’s SMB? (Small and medium business). People won’t be asking that one a year from now. * * * I’m sitting in the second row; the first is reserved for speakers.

Need value creation, value capture, value delivery

Software as a business model. Customer market pull is driving the SaaS (Services as Software) market.

The goal is to create integrated apps available online that provide “resturant-in-a-box” functionality

It’s hard for me to imagine the breadth of stuff a senior strategy guy for IBM must deal with. We sat together at dinner, and I asked Gerry how much time he devoted to learning; he told me 80%. And how did he go about it? Meeting with other people is his primary mode of learning.

TechLearn 2


Robby Robson is very savvy on learning standards. Two issues dominate the standards conversation today. The first is the convergence of standards, i.e. the recognition that learning standards must cross boundaries, for example learning and multimedia. Second is IP, intellectual property. Copyright law forbids the reproduction of documents. This makes common practices on the internet technically illegal (e.g. verifying compliance with a reference model). This one’s going to be incredibly tough to figure out.

The Expo

Three aisles of 10×10. Last year, the expo booths faced center-of-aisle tables, which made for good schmooze. This year it was narrow aisles.

I’ll admit that I no longer try to talk with lots of vendors. Instead, I ask cognoscenti what’s hot and home in on those. What did I see?

Grassroots Learning is a PowerPoint converter with a twist. Left in the hands of amateurs, death-by-PowerPoint slides are converted into death-by-PowerPoint training. Grassroots adds an instructional framework and design templates. For marketing departments and others tasked with preparing training resources but lacking instructional designers, (think of, say, a marketing department) Grassroots makes great sense.

Lee Kraus, Advanstar

The Marriott Marquis Hotel

Marriott must have hired the Mad Hatter as architect for the Marquis, probably the most confusing hotel I’ve ever been to. Once you find the front door (it’s between two storefronts on Broadway, behind the tank traps, with discreet signage, given that everything else fronting on Times Square is over-the-top, garish, gigantic advertising propaganda.

Throughout TechLearn, none of the elevators opened up on the ground floor, so you’re required to use the narrow escalator. Since half of the elevators on the upper levels are kaput while being renovated, the wait there takes forever. Most of the time I played their silly game of taking the escalators. At least one escalator was broken most of the time we were there. TechLearn Registration was on the 5th floor. Mega-sessions and keynotes were on 6. Breakouts were on 7. (Hotel registration was on 8.) Some breakouts were in tiny rooms which quickly filled to capacity. Others were down a couple of narrow hallways. Half the room signs there were covered up. A hotel employee happily pointed me to the wrong room. When Tom Peters went into overtime, all sessions were delayed 15 minutes, but no one informed the presenters to follow (they were out of the room setting up). None of the signs were modified. While some rooms were overflowing, others were totally empty. I’ll admit that I’ve had a problem with Marriott ever since the elevators broke when I was staying in Dallas, no one could tell us when they’d be fixed, the staff really didn’t seem to care, and I ended up fuming as I carried my son up to our room on the 8th floor. Bill sent me an apology but sheesh; this outfit should really invest a little in its customer service.

The Party

I don’t mean to be a grouch. The turkey was good. The wine and beer flowed freely. But Planet Hollywood is not a good spot for a party where networking is on the agenda. Loud music, dark corners, a focus on gambling with fake chips. Ugh.

Extreme Times Call for Extreme Learning


Speed of Business. Speedometer reading for your business, but one that you can set.

Readiness???!!! Speed of learning determines the speed of your business. Time to market.

Time to compliance. In the coming year, 50% to 60% of training revenue will come from compliance. Elliott is on several boards; all of them require training in Sarbanes-Oxley; there’s no certification, so he has to take it again and again.

Audience participation: Hire and train 500 to 1000 people for a new project. You have a month. Extreme On-boarding. Do things in parallel. Re-sequence the pieces. Start the orientation before they apply. Do a readiness exercise at your company.

Most Consortium members undergoing major change.

Three things to take away:

  1. Tidal waves of games and simulations. Not games, but game tech.
  2. Small chunks aggregated
  3. Expertise location

Jay’s presentation

Only time for a summary right now.

TechLearn Day 1

Monday morning. 8:20 am at the Marriott Marquis. Elliott is opening the show. “How many of you are …?” Plug for the 190 organizations in the eLearning Consortium. Elliott is a New Yorker by birth; New York is not a big city; it’s a collection of neighborhoods.

What keeps you awake at night? What is your measure of performance? (Find a partner!)

Things that keep Elliott up at night?

Self-service at the airport: in a year, most people switched to it. Elliott claims to interview people (with a dummy microphone) when at the airport. About 5% say the self-service kiosk is the best thing that ever happened. Self service is a reality now. It is the future. Elliott figures the airline kiosk is transitional. In about a year, they’ll be cheap on eBay.

Form factors. iTunes. In the old days, we want out of our way to make eLearning like class. “Hello, student Elliott…” When was the last time you finished reading a web page? Remember Wayne’s talk yesterday: EVERY ONE LEARN. People get what they want and leave. We should celebrate this: they go tit and left. Bravo!

Elliott thinks that courses will go away. The average person in America does not work at a desk. He or she is on a tractor, in a truck, on the ranch… On mLearning, America is behind. For seven cents a day, a person in China can receive a chapter of a novel daily via phone, The conversation about the connected workplace is hot.

Many LMS’s are used as CMS’s (compliance measurement systems). They are cover-your-ass systems to track your honest effort. you can buy a mission statement for $10. They look good on the wall.

Credo-based management. It gets to be about our neighborhood’s values, not compliance. eLearnig can dirve the mission and credo of the organization become part of the conversation.

Elliott hates the term Subject Matter Expert. He will never say “SME” again. We are draining them. They are the largest drag on developing content. He will pay a dollar for each time he says SME. Photo: Elliott paying Lance Dublin for not one, but two, mentions of SME.

“I love content,” he says. “But context is easier to digest. You’ll remember what you learned in table groups, not the speech. I went around the expo yesterday and I did not see a single context manager.”

The metrics of learning are business metrics. (Glad to hear that Elliott’s reading my stuff.)

eLearning. The experiment is over and it was mildly successful. Experimentation is over. Implementation is here. Rapid development is the order of the day. We no longer have 18 weeks to develop new courses. These days 18 hours is more like it. One financial institution is shooting for 18 minutes. Learning at the speed of business. How can we operate at the same pace? Let’s stop re-inventing things like navigation; it’s as if USA Today started each morning asking, “How do we want the front page to look today?”

The most critical decision you will make is what’s your scorecard? “We are looking at building the balanced scorecard for learning.” (I have talked with the inventor of the Balanced Scorecard about this very topic and am working on it at this very moment.) “I would love to have a dashboard that reports on employee confusion.”

“This will be my final year with TechLearn. I’m energized by what’s next. Your future is not in eLearning. eLearning is a delivery system. Your future is in making your organization strong, profitable, resilient, successful….”

Jason Fish tried to fill the big shoes. He tells us to visit the 65 vendors in the Expo. The crowd mumbles.

Lee Kraus of Advanstar just took the stage and announced that TechLearn 2005 will convene at the Bellagio in Vegas.

Tom Peters!

Walmart has 460 terabytes of data! (Twice as many bits as the internet.)

These are crazy times, and crazy times call for crazy people. Tom’s slides are at

Tom hates the word “best.” It implies there’s someone at the top. Later, he twice uses the word best.

Only the constant pursuit of innovation can ensure long-term success.

Not “out sourcing.” Do Best Sourcing.

Papa, what do you do? “Son, I’m overhead. I manage a cost center.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m finding Tom boring. I don’t think he prepared for this talk. The slides are mainly pages from his latest book. He doesn’t seem to know what slides are coming next. He’s running overtime. I’ve heard almost all of this stuff before. Tom is, I fear, over the hill. All histrionics and no content.

“Every time I pass a jailhouse or school, I feel sorry for the people inside.” Jimmy Breslin

“My kid’s on the Honor Roll.” All that means is he colored inside the lines.

The Bottleneck is at the Top of the Bottle.

Where are you likely to find people with the least diversity of experience, the largest investment in the past, and the greatest reverence for industry dogma?

Tom tried to return his MBA to Stanford after he saw his accounting prof on t.v., testifying as head of the audit committee of Enron and figured his five credits in accounting should be taken away.

New Yawk

I arrived in New York this evening, my first trip back here in years. Six? Seven? I wandered four blocks from my refuge, the Williams Club, to Grand Central for a wonderful dinner at the Oyster Bar. Curry-lentil-crawfish soup followed by a platter of salmon, calamari, giant shrimp, and Caesar salad, topped off with Normany apple pie and a snifter of Calvados. Yum.

Do I need to see the site of the World Trade Center while I’m here? I remember making sales calls in the WTC years ago. Grabbing a bite at its underground restaurants. Taking in the view from the top floor. Staying in the one hotel there. The day after the towers fell — Jesus, what a sight! Goddamn buldings coming down as if they were filled with air and someone had pulled the plug — I drew this image to memorialize the occasion.

I enjoy being on the road. (Willie Nelson is singing On the Road Again from my hard disk through a JetBlue headset as I write this.) In the Oakland Airport at 8:15 this morning, I noted in my journal, “Most people I know consider business travel a burden. Not I. To me, travel is an escape. It puts me in a contemplative mood. It gives me time to reflect. I enter into my little travel cocoon, sealed off fromphone calls and household chores. Since I’m only using my laptop, technical crap is minimal. And it’s times like these that I return to my journal.” (Someone asked Baba Ram Das if his upcoming 22-city tour for SEVA wasn’t going to jangle his psyche. No, he replied. “I’m always right here.” I can identify.)

I mentioned I minimize hassle by traveling with a bare-bones laptop. The laptop in question, a new IBM X40, is a three-pound marvel. I’ve had it a month. I promised myself I’d keep this machine lean and mean. No weird software add-ons. It’s not a desktop replacement; it’s my travel machine; it’s my PDA. I just glanced down to the lower right of my screen.

What the …?

Last weekend at the Accelerating Change conference at Stanford, BJ Fogg, who’s inventing the field of captology, i.e. computer persuasion, showed a short homemade movie starring stuffed monkey Bongo. Bongo goes on line to gather information for an upcoming picnic. Bongo fights with all manner of familiar obstacles. “Do you want to download updates from Microsoft? Your virus definitions are out of date.” I’ve been there, Bongo. Several times. Today.



Emerald’s On the Horizon has published part 2 of my history of eLearning.

On The Horizon – The Strategic Planning Resource for Education Professionals
Volume 12 Number 4 2004 Pages 151-157

The future of eLearning

Abstract: Corporate CEOs are finally telling the truth when they say “People are our most important assets”. Intellectual capital has become the primary factor of production. To raise their “corporate IQ”, managers treat workers as if they were customers of learning. This article explores why people learn much more about their jobs in the coffee room than in the classroom. It hypothesizes that equipping people intellectually to prosper will become a corporate discipline every bit as important as marketing or finance. Web services will mark the advent of workflow learning in real-time organizations.

Keywords:Information Media; Learning Styles; Workplace Training; Knowledge Management

When I have time for a breather, I may post a synopsis.


This Tuesday, I’m giving a presentation at TechLearn. This is six years to the day since I described a model for eLearning at TechLearn 1998 at Disneyworld. I talked about a scenario planning exercise I’d just completed and invited people for a ride in the Internet Time Machine, which was modeled on the Back to the Future DeLorean. We were looking way out into the future…all the way to 2004.

These were brand-new ideas at the time. No vendor talked about eLearning until nearly a year later.

On Tuesday, I plan to give an update. The Internet Time Machine has gotten a lot cooler. And we’ve come a long way in six years. In retrospect, our boundless enthusiasm back then seems naive. Now we’ve got real business to do. I’m still incredibly optimistic. We are going to change the world. But it’s going to be a bit more complicated than we thought back in the last century.

I am concerned about the worker of the future. We have the potential to create wonderful, challenging, inspiring jobs. Or to take a small-minded, short-term, demeaning approach.

Imagine what this guy would do with the ability to monitor work right down to the keystroke. Networks work both ways. Surveillance of workflow creates the oppportunity for surveillance of workers. Join me if you’d like to discuss the Dark Side as well as the upside of the next phase of eLearning. It’s a thorny issue, for the very nature of work is changing.

Of course, it’s hard to imagine TechLearn in New York instead of at the Coronado in Disneyworld.

While others were paying steep rates at the Coronado (“Have a magical morning!”), I’ve booked a lot of time in $25/night motels outside the Disney gates in Kissimmee. I’ve seen gators in Gatorland leap out of the water to grab chickens, bought crap at the big swap meets, piloted an airboat through the swamps, rode a jet-ski, walked the streets of Centennial (Disney’s Stepford community), shopped at ersatz factory outlets, and eaten supper in all-you-can-eat honky-tonks, surrounded by over-amped, Disneyfied children and parents whose exhaustion was palpable. What a weird place, Florida.

Moi, riding gator. (Dead gator).

The change of venue is nothing, however, compared to the impending change of maestro. Elliott’s contract with Advanstar expires soon. Everyone expects him to arise again, taking the Consortium with him, and leaving Advanstar with little to show for the millions it spent for the franchise. (“Those who do not learn the lessons of history…”.) It’s as if they bought the barber shop but failed to see that without the barber, all you get is an empty room.

For me, TechLearn has always been Elliott and his entourage. Images pop into my head. Elliott and Cathy personally greeting everyone as they enter Tomorrowland or Main Street for the party. Stan rushing around behind the scenes making things work. Cathy’s indefatigable family, the DeMicelis, AnneMarie and the dad and Matt… Elliott’s mom, when she was still with us. Jen. Others I can see in my mind’s eye but I’m blanking on their names. And the “regulars” like Beth Thomas, Diane Hessan & the SoundBytes, and Wayne Hodgins. These folks create community. In the early days, TechLearn was closer in spirit to Woodstock than to, say, an ASTD conference; we’re all in this together, man.

The SoundBytes

The rolling schwag bag

From the stage during Lance Dublin’s and my presentation in 2002.
We had an overflow crowd. The program mistakenly said EIliott would be speaking.

I was delighted to run into one of the
Raspini brothers in my local supermarket!

And you thought they were just buttons.
No, this is another way Elliott gets people
to talk with one another.
TechLearn has been a fun ride. I’m a marketing guy and designer at heart. Elliott is a marketing guy, too. He senses what people need and he delivers it. Elliott is the most savvy, effective, natural-born marketer I’ve even seen. Aside from that, he’s a true mensch, with a big heart. I have learned so much at TechLearn I can’t begin to describe it.

Elliott and I haven’t talked in a year, so I’m unaware of his plans. I’m sure they’ll be larger than life, and I hope I can take part. Elliott and Cathy, thanks for a great ride.


I’m preparing a new talk for TechLearn in New York next week. (Catch me at 2:45 pm on Tuesday.) Naturally, I’m trying to complete a dozen other projects at the same time. That’s why an email like this gets my goat:

    My apologies if my e-mail inconveniences you, i shall keep it short.

    I have applied for the position of an ICT Trainer within the organisation that I work for. As part of the interview I have to give a 15 minute presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of using e-learning in the work place.

    I have trawled so many sites and can find quite a few however, time is extremely short and I was wondering if you could state for me the main advantages and disadvantages of e-learning.



And my hasty reply:



    I have written thousands of pages on eLearning’s pro’s and con’s. If you are too lazy to read enough to give a 15 minute presentation, you probably don’t deserve the job.


I am usually generous, but I’ve had students ask me to write their term papers and consultants ask me to write white papers for free.

As the sign on the bar once said, “There is no free lunch.”

The times, they are a changin'

Accelerating Change meta-themes: How do we use technology to rapidly and humanely improve our world? Where does the world need to be changed, and what do we need to protect in the process?

Things kicked off with food, networking, and demo’s at SAP Lab’s R&D facility.

Saturday and Sunday packed so many great presentations that I cannot even consider documenting Accelerating Change 2004 in my usual fashion. I’ll make a few top-of-trees observations this evening, and post details of particularly hot sessions over the next couple of weeks.

Shai Agassi, a member of the Executive Board of SAP, is an awesome software visionary. His description of how enterprise software will evolve dovetails perfectly with the Workflow Institute’s thinking and research.

SAP provides snapshots of the entire corporation, bringing the time to develop the picture from years to months to days to minutes to milliseconds. The next challenge is TIME TO CHANGE. SAP has gone to other levels: Product Lifecycles (which are impossible to differentiate for long unless, like Apple buying up all the mini-drives for iPods). Change Management is the new game in town. The case for change from Geoff Moore. Consider airline check-in process.

The Vegas airport has check-in machines that spit out boarding passes for all airlines. The normal cycle:

Wired Tiired Retired
Services Platform Database File System
Event Centricity* Transaction Batch
Devices (think RFID) Clerks Not knowing
Exception handlers MRP Planners
Mobility (think Blackberry)** Desktop Terminal
Modeling Off-shoring Coding
Domain Specific Lang Java COBOL
Autonomous Systems System integration IT management
Grid Server Farm Mainframe
Office*** Office Office

IBM’s Jim Spohrer gave us the why and how of a new discipline, Service Science. Services are the main deal at IBM, at GE, in the US , worldwide. The largest labor force migration in human history is underway , driven by urbanization, global communications, low cost labor, business and technology innovation. Services are by definition co-production . It takes two to tango. Solow: health, wealth, and wisdom drive service innovation.

Cory Ondrejka told us “Meatspace is over.” . The inevitable migration of community and productions into the digital world. The Metaverse. Modeled on the real world; created, evolved… Second Life isn’t so much a game as a digital environment, playground, and workspace. Players are creating game objects and what-not within the game. In fact, some are making a living doing this.

Second Life: hottest new memes of the event.

Chris Allen told me about his two cousins who devote each summer to amassing points and prestige in the season’s favorite competitive game. They sell their game accomplishments on eBay. Manipulating bits is paying their way through college!

Gordon Bell described MyLifeBits, a Microsoft project for which he is the guinea pig. The goal is to digitize Gordon’s life: books and papers, home movies, work papers, photos, recordings, the whole shooting match. I would like to get my hands on the software for captioning photos and clicking in metadata. I don’t understand why anyone would document everything. Does Microsoft not know of the 80/20 rule? Gordon is an amazing guy: creator of the DEC VAX and more. I thanked him for his great book on High Tech Ventures, part of my introduction to Silicon Valley thinking.

Jokes about “death by PowerPoint” aside, journalist Dana Blankenthorn was the only presenter who did not use PowerPoint.

This morning I had a chat with Wil Wright. Wil is creator of Sim City and the Sims; he is a staggeringly brilliant guy. We talked about using a Sims-like environment for sales training. Wil had previously set up a business practice which sold to Chevron, the U.S. Health Service, and a few others. The economics didn’t work. Every Maxis project is a one-off. The business market is totally different from the entertainment market. Half of Maxis’s products fail; the others catch fire. A $5,000,000 marketing budget becomes a drop in the bucket for a successful entertainment title. In business, you have to sell and sell again. I still feel there’s opportunity to exploit the amazingly cool, new-fangled game software in service of training but the training industry is so radically different from the entertainment industry that I don’t think it will happen under one roof, at least not Maxis’s roof. Wil gave an awesome presentation on the “possiblity space.” Here are a couple of his slides. More will follow.

At this point I had my first ride on a Segway. The fellow after me had a minor collision. The first speaker had been Helen Greiner, co-founder and Chairman of iRobot. They make the Roomba, a self-controlled vacuum clearner that looks a bit like a giant gray plastic frizbee. The Segway careened into a Roomba. Tried to roll over it. The Segway backed off; someone pushed the Roomba in a different direction; a Battlebots Death Match was averted.

Brad Templeton (EFF) says, “A watched population never boils,” i.e. people rarely misbehave in public. However, the natural tendency of aristocrats is to support feudalism.

David Brin favors a Transparent Society but acknowledges that he has “no issue with protecting yourself in the age of John Ashcroft.

Richard Marks leads a SONY team that does R&D for developers of the PlayStation. The ultimate interface should be fun, intuitive, interactive, flexible, enabling, FUN! He showed us some jaw-dropping demos. Instead of air guitar, you play air-handball, challenged by the ball bouncing around on screen; you move, your avatar moves. Cheap. Intuitive. Incredible.

Investment advisor John Mauldin presented his thoughts on the inevitability of the business cycle, secular bear markets, and human psychology. Great advice: “If someone tells you, ‘This time it’s different,’ run don’t walk away from them.” My distillation of all of John’s charts and words and graphs is this: Buy low and Sell high.

Zack Rosen, a walking convergence of political savvy and Open Source, came to the session on Social Software with a Mac — and no video adaptor. The room had wi-fi. Zack emailed me his presentation and gave it from my ThinkPad. Thank goodness our world is finally becoming interoperable.

A conversation between Jaron Lanier and Wil Wright closed the conference. Wil prefers looking at Jupiter through his home telescope rather than Hubble images, “bacause he likes knowing that the photons from Jupiter are hitting his eyeball. Jaron: “Bits don’t mean anything.”


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