Monday, October 13, 2008

Busy, Busy ...

The last two weeks have been extremely busy for me. Along with working on the business case and funding for an interactive book company, I've started a new job and been a co-chair of a major London conference.

So in quick order ...

The interactive book company is Amphilab (I now work as an advisor having finished an initial three month stint). The company produces books with printed electronics. Let me just note one thing, these are not one page e-readers BUT real BOOKS with real paper pages which interact with computers. So it's old fashioned paper and ink (which we all love) AND turning pages (which we all love) PLUS text that interacts with computers & mobiles. We've already got a book deal and I'm now helping Manolis look for some funding that he needs.

I've also started a new job with Canonical as the software services manager. This role combines my passion for cloud computing & open source and puts it to good use for a great company. I know I was not intending to do any more work in the cloud computing space but then I met Mark and the Canonical team. It's a great place with great people - life just seems to be getting better and better.

Lastly, I've just finished co-chairing the Future of Web Apps (FOWA) conference. It was an absolute blast with some great talks by people like Kevin Marks, Gavin Bell, Suw Charman-Anderson, Julie Meyers, Ben Huh and the list goes on. The crowd was amazing, the venue excellent and Carsonified put on a grand show for everyone. Brilliant.

P.S. I've linked to my FOWA talk below. I know that I haven't yet created a video for my "Gang up now before the *aaS cloud gets you" talk at CloudCamp, London - I'll get around to it soon.

P.P.S. I'm also still writing, speaking, doing some ad-hoc work, building a bio-reactor and I'm in the process of moving home!

FOWA Talk - Innovation, the future and why nothing is ever simple.

4 comments:

phil jones said...

Very nice. The Google punchline is great. But set me thinking. Can you think of anyone else who's managing this split at the moment?

Also, what are the possibilities for specialists at either end : service providers who don't get into a new technology until it's well enough established, but who can execute their sigmas brilliantly?

Or innovators who drop a technological category as soon as it starts to climb the steep part of the S-curve?

(Maybe Paul Graham's built-to-flip startups fall into this category. As do the products of incubators. Or specialist design agencies.)

swardley said...

There are a couple of other companies in the web field and several in other industries who change policies and structures according to the lifecycle stage of an activity - most are doing this accidentally with rules like '20% of time'.

Whether Google was doing this deliberately or accidentally doesn't matter - the effect is the same.

Regarding the curve, this is not an adoption S-Curve (as per Roger's work) and it neither uses time directly as a reference or has any predictive capability.

That said, there are many stages to an activities lifecycle (each with their own methods) and it is possible to organise around such stages.

Now each company contains a mass of activities and each industry is different. So there does appear to be a profile for various industries and it is certainly true that you can adopt various stances in such industries including a predatory stance on innovation.

In such a stance you are specialising in the Transitional and Commodity phases.

However, given I only had 20 minutes to introduce the whole topic and I first had to lay down the groundwork for those who knew nothing about commoditisation - I thought it best to keep it simple.

But yes, I had to take some liberties in order to get a generally useful concept across.

The subject matter of course is vast and this curve can be used to explain a number of topics including, to name but a few, the weaknesses in outsourcing, why too many KPIs will kill a company, the necessity of emergent management methods, the danger of marketing and why CEOs of once innovative companies can often be found asking for more "innovation".

At some point in the future I will find the time to finish my book and publish all my findings. Until then, I'll have to content myself with short presentations.

Roger Broadie said...

Moving home???!?

What about the ducks........

swardley said...

They are still wild creatures, I'm sure they will survive.