JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 106 : December 22, 2002
Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
- Seasons greetings - poem: my email Christmas
- Nanotechnology is closer than you think
- Faster business response in an uncertain future
- Try the Google-Viewer
- JimPinto.com weblogs - read, respond or start a new weblog
- If the world was a village of 1,000 people
- Possibilities for ad-hoc wearable wireless communities
- CEOs of ABB, Chrysler, GE - and Microsoft
Season's Greetings - Poem: My eMail Christmas
The Christmas season is upon us!
My poem "My email Christmas" was first written on Christmas Eve, 1975.
It has been published in several webzines and sent via email countless
times - some of my friends actually email back it to me, not realizing
that I wrote it.
On behalf of me and mine,
I wish you and yours a happy Holiday Season!
It starts like this:
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
And ends like this:
Not a creature was stirring, except for my mouse
My wife she awoke to ask what was the matter
'Twas not Santa Claus, 'twas my keyboard clatter
But please eNews friends, donít email too much
My eMail Christmas 2002
Don't just have a virtual Christmas - go touch!
I wish you all a good time and good cheer
To all a good Christmas! And a Happy New Year!
Nanotechnology is closer than you think
We all know the sign engraved on the rear-view mirror of our cars:
"Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear". While the
world waits for old business to come up out of the slump, new business
is brewing that can generate a revolution beyond what we may imagine.
Nanotechnology is closer than it appears.
Awareness of Nanotechnology has been rapidly growing in scientific,
business, and government circles over the past few years, and is now
spreading to popular culture. A cover story appeared in the Nov. 24,
2002 issue of Parade magazine, the nearly universal supplement to
Sunday papers across the US: "How nanotechnology is changing our
world" by Michael Crichton. The inside title was "Could Tiny Machines
Rule the World?" with the introductory blurb "Today's era of
technological power offers enormous promise for the future". But,
as the best selling author of The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park
reminded us, enormous dangers also may lie ahead.
The Parade article presents an insightful and balanced introduction
to nanotechnology, and prominently cites the views of Eric Drexler
and the Foresight Institute. The article also heralded the release
of Crichton's new novel "Prey", a techno-thriller portraying
development of nanotechnology gone awry. In the novel, nanotechnology
is implemented without regard to the safety principles preached by
Foresight, and the results are disastrous.
Whether the specific portrayal in the novel of self-replicating,
evolving nanobots is well grounded in technical reality is another
question. Even if Crichton did not get all of the details correct,
his message has been Foresight's message since 1986: careless and
irresponsible development of nanotechnology can lead to very bad
Crichton's scenario is likely to get even greater exposure as the
novel becomes a movie. The debate about what nanotechnology is, what
it will mean, and what policies to regulate it will be necessary and
desirable, is likely to intensify during the coming months and years.
Nanotechnology in Parade magazine
The Foresight Institute website
Business Week on the Crichton novel
Keeping pace with business in an uncertain future
Futurists (the avocation I aspire to these days) do not predict the
future - they observe the trends and make reasonable extrapolations
to shine the headlights a little further down the road. With
technology accelerating as fast as it is, the business world down
in the dumps and the world facing an uncertain future, how do the
best businesses do their planning? The trends show the way. The
choice is to let things happen, or ride the front of the wave.
The major trend in business today is speed. The increasing
connectedness of the economy has a major impact on how companies
are organized, operated and managed. Acceleration is a fact of
economic life and the "real-time" enterprise is unavoidable.
Companies like Dell, Cisco and FedEx strive for real-time as a
primary aspiration, and they are taking active steps to get there.
Time-control is like quality control - every time you encounter
a lag in a process you do something about it.
Connectivity and speed also introduce volatility. Consider the
recent increase in business failures, stock market gyrations and
unpredictable corporate results. To survive, companies must learn
to adapt and evolve amid uncertainty.
Companies must sense and respond faster than changes in relevant
features of the environment. Businesses can become more connected
and more responsive through autonomous-agents software that senses
events and makes decisions in response. Agents don't have to be
fancy; a thermostat, for example, is an autonomous agent. Identify
the right "agents" and strive to make the time between the signals
and the responses shorter and shorter.
Does a true real-time corporation exist today? No. But more and more
companies are generating success through doing more and more in
"real-time". Your job is to think about the key events and signals
in your business, and work to improve your business-reaction time.
Keeping Pace with the Accelerating Enterprise
Gartner: The real time enterprise
Dawn of the real time enterprise
The Google Viewer
Most people know that Google is by far the most popular search engine
available today. Surfers like it because of the highly relevant
results it gives, and the speed at which it delivers them. These days,
I tend to NOT use any bookmarks, or telephone white or yellow pages to
look up phone numbers, or a whole host of other old habits. I just go
to Google and type in what I need. It's faster.
Google is known for the wide range of features it offers, such as
cached links that let you "resurrect" dead pages or see older versions
of recently changed ones. It offers excellent spell checking, easy
access to dictionary definitions, integration of stock quotes, street
maps, telephone numbers and more. See Google's help page for an entire
rundown on some of these features. The Google Toolbar has also won a
popular following for the easy access it provides to Google and its
features directly from the Internet Explorer browser.
With the growth and depth of the JimPinto.com website, it is probably
easiest to use the local Google search to find any eNews items, or
topics. Just go to the bottom of the JimPinto.com homepage to Google,
and use the local-search button.
Google Labs has just released the Google Viewer and has asked folks
to kick its tires and report back. The viewer displays the pages
found as a result of your Google search as a continuous scrolling
slide show. You can view your search results without using your
keyboard or mouse and you can adjust the speed with which the
images move across your screen. Each image of a page's contents
is accompanied by a short "snippet" describing that page.
Check out the Google Viewer
JimPinto.com local website search
Traffic on the JimPinto.com weblogs is growing fast! Many people just
go to the weblogs to find out the latest scuttlebutt on the companies
they are interested in, without leaving any blogs. Also, I must
mention that the blogs are sometimes just a platform for complaints
by malcontents. This reflects that sad fact that many people simply
do not have any avenues to voice their legitimate concerns within
their own company.
At the very least suggest to your management, or HR people, that they
should browse the JimPinto.com blogs. Positive inputs and commentary
from management is usually published and always appreciated.
Several people have asked why we do not have weblogs on other
Automation companies, such as Emerson, or Groupe Schneider. Let me
remind them that they should feel free to send (email) on those (or
other) companies. If there is sufficient accumulation of interest on
any company, or topic, a weblog will be forthcoming.
Please note that thought my previous background is automation and I
still have personal links with many people in the automation business,
I have no direct investments or affiliations with any of the companies
discussed. There is NO bias or hidden agenda.
Note too, that the JimPinto.com website is NOT specifically focused
on the automation-industry. There are many other interesting and
enjoyable topics. Your regular commentary and feedback is very much
JimPinto.com weblog Index
Regarding the "if the world was a village of 100 people"
statistics, Joe Fortier [firstname.lastname@example.org] wrote:
"Many people believe that these numbers are inaccurate. The real
numbers, though not as stark as the ones in your Thanksgiving essay,
are also a cause for the same concerns. The link below is to a page
at Philadelphia Universities web site. It contains an updated set
of statistics assuming that the world was a village of 1000.
The world as a Village of 1,000 people
In response to the item on wearable computers and ad-hoc wireless
communities, Allen Nelson [email@example.com] sent this:
"Computers embedded in clothing could form networks on the fly.
An industry analyst and observer wrote :
HEY, YOUR FLY IS DOWN! ER - I MEAN YOUR NETWORK IS DOWN!
"Software embedded in the clothing would have to be compatible.
YOU KNOW, THAT SHIRT REALLY DOESN'T GO WITH THOSE PANTS!
"The expression "BOOT UP" may take on new meaning.
"What you would or could do with a 'browser'?
HONEY - QUIT BROWSING THAT WOMAN'S BLOUSE!
"Sign in a movie theater:
PLEASE TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES, PAGERS, AND LOUD TIES.
"You download MP3 music from friends as you walk around the mall.
IF YOU DO THAT IN A SAM GOODY, WOULD IT BE CONSIDERED SHOPLIFTING?
"If you live in a big city for instance, there are many people who
might want to buy an item you're trying to sell.
WHAT WOULD THIS DO FOR PROSTITUTION?
WOULD MY PANTS INFORM ME OF WHAT SHE IS SELLING?
WOULD MY PANTS RECEIVE AN EMAIL FROM MY WIFE WHO IS ALSO NETWORKED?
PERHAPS MY PANTS WOULD EMAIL HER! (IT DIDN'T HAPPEN - SOMEONE
MUST HAVE HACKED INTO MY PANTS...!)"
"Linked to the current ABB fiasco is the news report about 6 months
ago, in which the (then) two top executives were retiring with a
combined package of $250 million. Coincidence: the company had just
announced a loss of $450 million. Does two plus two equal four?
Of course the company is having difficulties. No company can
easily survive such plunder.
"A few weeks ago I wrote to you about the grossly undeserved adulation
of Jack Welch of GE, and drew a parallel to Lee Iacocca (late of
Chrysler), both credited for single handedly "making" their respective
companies. The media fantasies chose to ignore the thousands of
dedicated, disciplined and highly skilled workers of these companies.
This is particularly true of Chrysler. The early 1990s turnaround took
place due to the workers putting up $1 billion, (all their pension
funds, many sold their houses and put all their savings as well) to
float the company, so that Iacocca could wallow in the glory.
So much for the Superman theory.
"Note that Bill Gates never pretends to be the only brain in
Microsoft: at every opportunity he seems to praise the extraordinary
people around him, most of them very wealthy too."
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