Cisco’s Comeback

Business Week recently had a story on Cisco’s rejuvenation, with a quote from CEO John Chambers that shows its dominance: “We’ve executed to the point that we have 100% of the industry’s profits, 100% of the cash, and about 70% of the market cap.” More quotes:

[Once Cisco began to understand the breadth and depth of the downturn], we thought it would be the hundred-year flood and that it would last longer than people anticipated. I did not want to make the mistakes that I saw made by other companies during a downturn. The rule I followed was to make the changes one time, make them deeper than you think, articulate the changes in a way that explains your longer-term vision, explain why the changes have to be made, and outline what employees need to stay focused on. And then position for the upturn.

The consensus [when I spoke to big companies] was that you have to deal with the world the way it is, not the way you wish it was. Do not fall into denial. Second, you need to determine whether you did this to yourself or whether there were larger market forces at play. Third, you need to determine how long you think the downturn will last and how challenging it will be, because your strategy will change depending on the depth and severity of the situation.

Jack Welch [former General Electric (GE ) CEO] said it best. He said, “John, you’ll never have a great company until you go through the really tough times. What builds a company is not just how you handle the successes, but it’s the way you handle the real challenges.”

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Grand Central’s BPEL

BPEL stands for Business Process Exectuion Language. Phil Wainewright writes: “Grand Central offers a web services intermediary service basically a web-services-network-in-the-cloud and now it has added a BPEL engine, which means users can construct joined-up processes by orchestrating services together.”

Why is it important? “The wonderful thing is that, being BPEL, you can map virtually any process you can conceive, because it’s founded on a form of logic called pi-calculus. Some people think this is just souped-up workflow, but in fact pi-calculus and the business process software that’s based on it produces many different forms of process mapping besides workflow. To understand why, read Workflow is just a Pi process, a white paper by Howard Smith and Peter Fingar.”

This is what we want Visual Biz-ic to do.

WiFi and MIMO for 100 Mbps

ARCchart suggests how WiFi could break the 100 Mbps speed barrier:

MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) distributes packet traffic across multiple WLAN channels, boosting over-the-air throughput, while improved signal processing produces an improved range. Spatial multiplexing puts the data back together again, based on Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), the same modulation technique used by 802.11a and g. The key element to the MIMO system however is multiple antennae and the performance of this system is scalable simply via the addition of more antennae. 100Mbps is easily achievable.

The Stanford-based developers of the MIMO system have set up Airgo Networks to develop silicon that uses this technology.

Intel is another major MIMO advocate. The company has acquired the MIMO system IP from another Stanford-based start-up, IOSpan, and at the recent Intel Developer Forum, Intel CTO, Pat Gelsinger stated Were going to drive MIMO into every platform we build. By implication this extends Intels intended use for MIMO to cellular, WiMAX or UWB platforms, not just Wi-Fi.

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The Need for Ontologies

Ontology: “An explicit formal specification of how to represent the objects, concepts and other entities that are assumed to exist in some area of interest and the relationships that hold among them.” and “The hierarchical structuring of
knowledge about things by subcategorising them according to their essential (or at least relevant and/or cognitive) qualities.”

David Galbraith writes:

Google is a search engine, and does pretty much what Altavista did 5 years ago, before they stopped being just a search engine. They sensibly ignore meta tags, but that was largely to do with people deliberately entering false information. Yahoo’s category search (Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle) is becoming a search engine ‘Yase’ because its difficult to impose ontologies on the web as a whole.

Things that aren’t really search engines, like Amazon and Ebay, or the classification of species for that matter, would be useless without some kind of ontology.

Even without a complete hierarchical system for classification, metadata is useful where pure full text search fails. Try searching for a cheap flight on Google, you can’t – unless they scrape the metadata.

Scott “Feedster” Johnson Interview

Scott’s been doing a fantastic effort with Feedster. Excerpts from an interview in waffle:

In a world of essentially infinite information and the consequent infinite information overload, you have to pick how you want to deal with things and were seeing an increasing number of people turning to a temporal approach i.e. Whats going on now? as opposed to Whats best (google). Our temporal, current orientation is a huge difference from Google. It sounds small but it really isnt.

One of the brilliant things that occurred and I think we have to credit Dave for is correctly realizing that RSS + Blogs was a natural pairing. Think of blogs as your friends. No one really wants to travel to see their friends not when you have a lot of them. What you want is them to come to you. And thats what RSS does it lets your friends (blogs you read) come to you.

I think the next big thing to happen to the blogosphere is probably some type of commerce. Now I dont know if thats people paying for content, advertising or what but its bound to happen. And the people creating the content that make up the blogosphere deserve something for their time. I think there needs to be a way to compensate people in small bits otherwise the content will start to dry up.

TECH TALK: An Entrepreneurs Attributes: Inspiration, Networking, Faith in God

Inspiration Motivating the Team

The entrepreneur is the number one reason for the team members to join. It is the force of personality, the depth of vision and the belief that one is on a mission to change the world that motivates the team. Individually, everyone may be ordinary, but as a collective, they are capable of doing extraordinary feats and the entrepreneur is the secret sauce which makes all of this possible. The entrepreneur is the chief inspirer-and-motivator. The passion and commitment of the entrepreneur is what will bring out the best in the team. The team, in effect, will mirror the entrepreneurs highs and lows. It is therefore very important for the entrepreneurs enthusiasm to never flag whatever be the situations. The team sees the entrepreneur as some kind of a superhuman, one with limitless energy it is something that the entrepreneur must always maintain, whatever be the inner issues that may be going on.

Networking Meeting Others

It is very important for the entrepreneur to build a network of contacts in the industry. It is not something that comes naturally to everyone, and yet, it is something that has to be done. The entrepreneur is the face of the organisation. As such, it becomes necessary for the entrepreneur to speak at conferences, and in general make presentations whenever the opportunity arises. This helps in getting the message out about the venture to more people. The entrepreneur is in effect the best advertisement that a new venture has.

One thing I have realised over the years is that meetings never do harm. Yes, there is a time investment, but there is always some good that comes out of meeting others. At times, the good may take a long time. It is like a spray-gun approach one never knows which meetings will hit the target. But as long as one good idea or contact can emerge from a meeting, I feel it has been worth it. And even more to the point, it is upto the entrepreneur to get that value.

Faith In God A Must

This may seem like a strange attribute in todays day and age. But I have gone through enough scenarios in my entrepreneurial life to believe that there is a force that guides one along. There have been times when I have found myself caught in situations from where there is seemingly no escape, and yet, I have not only emerged, but done so stronger. There are events which may seem to have little bearing on the venture, but they are like the butterfly which causes the tornado small things which can make a big difference, amplified by the hidden hand of God. All I can say is that I have learnt to believe that there is always some good which comes out of everything, and it is for us to see that good. It may be hard to see that good when one is going through a difficult patch, but as long as one has faith in God, one will see the light soon enough.

Tomorrow: Risk Reduction, Listening

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