Thursday, September 22, 2005

When the Boss Blogs

There have been countless articles on CEO blogging, but here's a good read by Jeneane D. Sessum for Global PR Blog Week 2.0. It's also chock full of links to other good articles on the topic.

Here's some good advice from Bob Cramer, CEO of LiveVault -- better known to me as an active and involved citizen of my town:

“Blogging is about expressing yourself and how you feel—whether it’s your market, industry trends, current events, or some other topic,” he says. “It’s not about selling product or writing a sales pitch. While I would urge every CEO to blog, I would also urge them to write about things they know about, to be personal, to understand that this is not your ‘company’ speaking—it’s you speaking.”

This quote from Natural Logic CEO Gil Friend was particularly heartwarming, as he notes that blogging is just another mechanism to communicate with his community at large:

"The conversation happens through blogging and around the water cooler," he says. "It happens in performance reviews, in the lunchroom, in the boardroom. Extended across the organization’s lifecycle is the defining conversation the company has with itself and its value chain. And every organization has the opportunity to have this conversation, to make it broadly participatory, to make it rich, and to have it in all the forums where it can occur."

Friday, September 16, 2005

High-Tech Lends a Hand to the Gulf Coast

A post from CHEN account manager Juli Greenwood...

Most of us in high-tech have at some point in our careers asked, "What good is my work really doing the world?" Sure we PR-types believe we're doing our clients good :), but let's face it, our day jobs do not have us feeding the hungry or searching for disease cures.

But in the weeks that have followed Hurricane Katrina, I'm proud to see the world of high-tech step up.

By now we've all heard that craigslist was and continues to be instrumental in the relief effort; getting information to those survivors in desperate need, including offers for housing, transportation, and now even employment. Both Lycos and Yahoo! quickly followed suit by setting up a way for the families and friends to search Internet bulletin boards and other sites about the status of missing loved ones.

As reported by the Associated Press, "high-tech companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are offering money, equipment and expertise to help with the recovery effort. Intel, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, SBC, Dell and others are working with the Red Cross to build voice and data communications at hundreds of evacuation shelters...." and as many as 1,500 Dell and Lenovo notebook computers were expected to be donated.

Then a project called, supported by the Social Software Foundation, the Foundation and CivicSpace Labs, and hosted by OpSource, hit the net. It's a massive, searchable database created by a grassroots group of volunteers.

And the stories continue to stream in... local high-tech companies serving as donation drop off points, matching employee Red Cross donations, hosting fundraising benefits, etc.

So while we may not in our lifetimes end world hunger, at least for now high-tech is banding together to help those devastated by Katrina. Together I think there's a lot 5.6 million techies can do.

MSFT Uses Open Source - It Must be Chilly Down There Today

In 2001, Steve Ballmer famously declared: "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." In was perceived as a first step in MSFT's all out assault on open source.

As evidence of how far open source has come, an eWeek story reports today that MSFT is openly talking about the use of the Message Passing Interface in its Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition.

Peter Galli reports that Kyril Faenov, Microsoft's director for High Performance Computing, said, "Actually, we are probably the first team at Microsoft that will actually ship an open-source component inside of our solution, but we haven't made a lot of noise around this yet," he said.

Also in eWeek, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports that, while it may be the first time MSFT has been so open about its use of open source, it's not really the first time Redmond has crossed over to the light side:

One of technology's dirty little not-so-secret secrets is that Microsoft has been using open-source software since the early '90s in its TCP/IP network stack.

SJVN closes with his fervent wish that MSFT has learned a thing or two:

Am I wrong, or is there a lesson here?

Can it be that open-source really is a great way to create software?

Can it be that even Microsoft has finally figured that out?

You know what? I think it has.

Time will tell.

Monday, September 12, 2005

If Only That Message Could Have Gotten Lost in the Mail...

Today was a day when most of us were trying to process the notion of $8.4 billion worth of tech acquisitions, and what it will mean for the industry. I was trying to imagine my next eBay auction, with the late-breaking bidders on a Skype conference call shouting out bids.

But this eWeek article about a recruiter for Microsoft reminded me of those times when misguided recruiters have called me offering me a job with more opportunity for growth. This poor guy emailed Eric Raymond, who is, of course, a god of the open source community. Raymond rarely has a kind word for Microsoft. An excerpt from Raymond's response:

On the day *I* go to work for Microsoft, faint oinking sounds will be heard from far overhead, the moon will not merely turn blue but develop polkadots, and hell will freeze over so solid the brimstone will go superconductive.

You can read the initial email and Raymond's response at his (aptly named) blog, Armed and Dangerous.