Yahoo Chief 's Resume Scandal

Here we go again.  It’s not just another guy with a bad goatee…Scott Thompson, CEO at Yahoo, former president of Pay Pal/eBay, has been exposed for falsely inflating his resume.
In a series of articles in Business Insider,this mistake is described in detail.  Also, reportedly, Yahoo employees are very upset and angry at Thompson.  This is, at a minimum, ironic. If Yahoo employees fit national averages, about 25% of them probably lied on their resumes too.   But, folks like to be righteous, and they absolutely love to be self-righteous.  It’s a contest to see who can throw the first stone, the hardest.  In this age of being able to find out everything about everybody, exposing people has become a blood sport.

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Lying on your resume is a stupid thing to do.   So is lying on your profile in Facebook  (hmmm—check that one out).  If you do it, you’re a jerk, but you are still a member of the human race, and last I heard we honored the principle of forgiveness.

 

 

I’ve noticed this principle under durress regarding two other individuals lately—
Michael Vick and Joe Paterno.   When it comes to being kind to animals and not raping young boys, it’s too easy to jump down on the side of goodness and berate and dishonor those who made mistakes.     Too many people seem to be frustrated judges, and they can’t wait to get all ‘holier-than-thou’ on people whose stupidity gets exposed. I guess they are perfect and it frustrates them living with the rest of us slobs.

Look….The guy lied on his resume…That’s cheating and being dishonest.  He should be fired, but let’s tone down the moral outrage.  Until we’ve solved the really serious injustices and cruelties that occur daily in this country, let’s stop making such public victims out of people who do stupid, self-defeating things… Live and let live.

CLOUD for ALL

Cloud computing is getting all  the attention these days in technology journals and publications.   Major corporations are shifting from in-house data center operations to cloud computing models for two reasons:  better computing for less cost.   To understand cloud computing,and why it is suddenly the hottest trend out there, we need to review the context of the evolution of professional computing during the last two decades or so. In the mid-1980s, in the middle of the PC revolution that was shaking the foundation of mainframe computing, Sun Microsystems was growing rapidly, selling expensive servers running Open Source operating system software.  Today, when we take for granted the huge network called the Internet, it’s difficult to imagine a time when computers were not networked together, except in limited “Local AreaNetwoks” (LANs)
.During that time, Scott McNealy, then-president of Sun, said, “The network is the computer,” with prescient insight that was typical of him.

 

Then and Now

Then, every organization had to be self-sufficient for computing—everyone needed their own processor and storage, and connecting computing equipment was complex and expensive.  Now,  thanks to the Internet, computers can be connected easily and inexpensively. This means that one computer, running on the Internet (the”cloud”), can serve many different organizations.  Now software programs, which used to be needed for each organization who licensed it, could be provided for multiple organizations.  One set of programming being used by multiple customers, running on one server.  The benefits of cloud computing are apparent.  More computing capacity for less expense.  Now, large organizations are taking advantage of the cloud model;and at Blazing Systems we have designed our delivery model to do the same.  The result is that our customers–individual professionals, small-medium businesses, and non-profit organizations, can all gain the same advantages from cloud computing as the large corporations are.We are Open Source, and we endorse the delivery of software as a service(SaaS), not a proprietary product.

Bill Patch

02/16/12

 

 

 

NO SOPA

It seems that Congress is becoming an inreasingly ineffective body.  In attempting to stop foreign piracy of copyrighted U.S. material, their best idea is to create draconian laws that would expose many American Internet providers to shutdowns at the whim of large media providers. ‘To solve a problem for one group let’s create one for another, seems to be the congressional mode.  This, coming on the heels of inept work on health care and the debt ceiling, budget , the deficit, or ANY fiscal matter, shows a congress more concerned with partisan bickering than solving problems.  We as citizens need to do a better job sending people to Washington.

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Websites are for People

Websites are a great medium for organizations to communicate and conduct transactions.  Websites are “open for business ” 24/7/365, assuming they are well-built and hosted in a secure environment. Unfortunately, too often, people build websites for themselves, and not for their constituents who will be using the site.  These websites, sometimes called “brochureware,” tend to talk a lot about themselves, informing the visitor to the site of everything they ever wanted to know–and more–about the organization.  These sites are difficult to navigate, and the visitor often finds themselves in a dead end spot that is hard to leave, or loses track of where they were, and they end up hitting the “back button” repeatedly to escape.  The pages themselves on these sites are crammed with lots of verbiage, narrative prose content, and not much white space or images.  It’s usually difficult to determine how the visitor can communicate with the organization–because they really aren’t that interested in hearing from you.  These sites are called ‘brochureware” because most of them are just the organization’s marketing brochure copied and pasted on  to a website.

 

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Effective Websites are designed and built for the people who will be using them.

It takes more effort to design and build a site that anticipates the needs of the people who will be using the site.   You can’t just copy your print media and slam it up there.  You have to think of how the users will perceive the page, and what the will want to do, how they will want to navigate.   When you get on a site that has been well-designed, you can feel it right away.  We call this “intuitive”—
Is it easy to understand, easy to move around?  Are things where you expect them to be?  If so, it’s because somebody paid attention to those factors when they designed the site and loaded the content. One new site that manages to present a huge amount of information and functionality in a very attractive, appealing, intuitive,  user-friendly site is www.boyertownpa.org, the website for the Building a Better Boyertown organization.Building a Better Boyertown (BBB) is a non-profit organization formed in 2002.  BBB staff and volunteers develop and accomplish tasks that maintain Boyertown’s historical heritage, promote downtown Boyertown,  and attract people to the community. Many people, from BBB Board members to downtown merchants and visitors rely on the site for timely information about news, events, and meetings.

As you will see when you visit the site, each page contains lots of information, displayed in an easy -to-see and understand format. Special care was taken in the design of the interactive calendar, because so many different constituents use it.  The site is also designed to make it easy for  local businesses and organizations to add and update their information on the site.

Care was also taken to make the donation function clear and easy to use.  This site was designed for the people who need to use it.  As a result,  information will be updated in a timely fashion, and people will enjoy accessing the site for information they need.  Because lots of thought and hard work went into the design, using the site will require less work and generate satisfaction, rather than frustration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Mongo is but a pawn in Game of Life;” , or Why ‘Blazing Systems?’

Shortly after we launched Blazing Systems, one of my friends–a colleague in the IT industry –asked me how we came to choose the name of our new company.   He chuckled when he asked me, which is part of the answer to his question.
In this age of taking yourself too seriously, as in “Web Technology Solutions’,  we wanted to show our sense of humor, our human side, and show that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.  We wanted to present a friendly image for customers. Many customers we encounter have been taken advantage of by technology companies who act like they are smart and the customer is not, like technology is some sort of mysterious stuff that only they can understand.  (This is a posture which positions the company to over-charge and under-deliver.)
Technology, as practiced by those companies, can be impersonal and even threatening; so we wanted to project the opposite.

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Technology doesn’t have to be painful, like the dentist–It can be fun and human -scale, like the movie.  The name Blazing Systems starts things out on a friendly note. “What about people who don’t get it?”  my friend asked.  “What if they don’t appreciate the humor, and they decide not to do business with you?  What if they do get it, but have no sense of humor, and don’t think it’s funny, or if they think it’s stupid?  My answer  was , “Fine.We probably wouldn’t want to work with them , anyway.

 Bill Patch

01/10/12

Spirit of the Season

This year, with so many American families in dire need, is it just my imagination–or perhaps wishful thinking –that the crass commercialism seems to be down a notch?

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The endless TV ads are there—-give a give a give a garmin—-ruining traditional holiday songs by turning them into sales jingles, and  garish red and gold decorations bedeck even the humblest of retail establishments, but there is data pointing to a different approach this year:

 

Reuters reports:

“Several recent surveys indicate that charities and nonprofits can expect giving to be more bountiful at the end of 2011, particularly compared to the last two years. Moreover, donors seem to be taking into account current economic challenges and government cutbacks when deciding where to give: A recent poll by the website Charity Navigator (see link.reuters.com/nyk45s), for instance, found human-service groups, such as food banks and homeless shelters, top the list of where respondents plan to g(http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/06/us-usa-charity-donatinos).

At Blazing Systems, we’re doing our part.  One of our long-time clients,RE/MAX Achievers of Collegeville-Pottstown-Boyertown(see http://www.achieverspa.com)is conducting a Food Drive for the 9th year,accepting donations at three office locations.We donated cases of canned goods to this worthy cause, where they seek to  “Make a difference….One household at a time.”

We are also dog lovers, and we’re donating dog food to our local SPCA.This bad economy has taken its toll on our furry friends as well, as people have abandoned pets at an alarming rate.

 

So…maybe it’s not just wishful thinking…Maybe there IS a renewed spirit of giving out there this year, and maybe we ARE acting more like the Americans in a Frank Capra movie—-in the true spirit of the season.  I hope so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word Press Works

At Blazing Systems we recommend and deploy Word Press software for websites.  WordPress can be used for an entire site, or parts of a site.  We use Word Press for the blog feature on our own site, and we have deployed it for these client sites: http://www.nakedphilly.co//www.achieverspa.com, http://www.chestercounty1.com, andhttp://www.devonjohn.com/wp.Word Press is a dependable website  framework partly because it’s built on stable, proven, pervasive technologies, including MYSQL andPHP.  We deploy it as a LAMP(  Linux, Apache, MYSqL., and PHP)As  you will see when you visit any of the sites listed, the framework produces appealing and effective sites that are easy to understand and navigate, and they are also highly functional with robust applications.  Word my canadian pharmacy online Press is Open Souce, and over 17,000applications have been developed for it.  We have recently developed and deployed applications specifically for realtors.     We enjoy working with Word Press technology, and our clients are also pleased with the results.  Please call us to discuss how an affordable upgrade to a Word Press site would create an advantage for your web marketing program.

 

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Homes, Colleges, and Hospitals

President Obama has decided to “fix ” the college loan mess..  What do homes, hospitals, and colleges have in common?  The government has been getting involved, trying to “fix”them. Our system is set up for organizations–both for-profit and non-profit–to provide goods and services in exchange for money.  The costs of college and hospital (and housing) have become so onerous that no individual citizens can afford to pay them, so insurance companies have become the real “customers” of health care providers, and various banks and the federal gov’t have become the paying customers of higher education (and housing).   When there  is a disconnect between the provider and the receiver of the goods and services, the economics become distorted and unreal.

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Bureaucracies are high-cost operations

 

Colleges and universities and hospitals also share other characteristics, most of which serve to drive up costs:  Both higher ed institutions and health care institutions are bureaucracies, managed by highly educated people who tend to believe they are on a mission–a “higher calling”than us mere mortals who toil in mundane jobs.  In academia, tenure protects even the most ineffective practicioners, folks tend to seek to avoid taking on responsibility, and much time is spent on inter-departmental spats and CYA.  Medical institution bureaucracies are also marked by departmentalism and ‘It’s not my job’ kind of stuff.

 

Big Benefits from Higher Ed and Health Care

 

Many people–myself included–have benefited from the services of both types of institutions.  Perhaps that is why costs have been allowed to spiral in such an out-of control fashion.We need the benefits more than we need to be able to afford them.Until that changes, and the providers are more accountable to customers who have to pay their bills , the government will continue to have to intercede to cover the costs.

CLOUDY DAZE

The CLOUD has captured the attention of the IT industry.  The CEOs of Oracle and Salesforce,com are having an all-too-public spat over who is more purely a Cloud Company, and traditional equipment manufacturers are scrambling to replace enduser sales lost to the cloud. Misunderstanding and misconceptions abound…  Business as usual, in other words, for what used to be called the computer industry.  In the good old days, hardware product companies made luxuriuous margins on selling and leasing processors and peripherals to endusers.  The model was that each enduser needed to own the means of production for its data processing requirements.  Large endusers created huge data centers with staffs of programmers and operators.  Product companies were happy to sell them the equipment they needed to do their own data processing.  Very large endusers became very profitable legacy accounts for companies like IBM, DEC.Compaq, H-P, and Dell. The problem with this model for the endusers  was the cost of all that hardware, software, and staff.  Endusers began to realize that doing your own data processing in the basement was not cost-effective, and they started to demand  a more effective model.  The IT industry has never changed on its own—Change has always been driven by customer demand, including especially the Open Systems movement led by Sun in the 80s and 90s. With hardware and software freed from proprietary constraints, customers could now begin receiving “computing on demand,”and IT companies raced to develop the best model to provide computing “by the drink.”  IBM developed “Grid Computing, “and others followed suit.  The breakthrough to “Cloud Computing”  was made possible by the acceptance in all customer segments  of the Internet as a trusted medium.  (Remember–not too long ago  , we were still debating if customers would actually be willing to trust the Internet to do commercial transactions.)

 

Now, endusers don’t need anything more sophisticated than what Scott McNealy originally called a “network computer, ” a device just to access software that was running somewhere else.  (These used to be called “dumb terminals.”)

In the Cloud, Everything’s A Service
Now, all the processing AND storage can be done by an entity other than the end user.  All the hardware,software, and staff needed to keep it running, can be owned and operated by someone else; and endusers can be free  to use the infrastructructure and/or apllications and platforms they need, when–and only when– they need them. Everything can nowbe consumed by endusers as a service.  We have IaaS, SaaS, and
PaaS in the Cloud(Infrastructure as a service, Software as a Service, and Platform as a Service).

Sophisticated services require SLAs

ServiceLevel Agreements (SLAs)need to be developed to define service delivery from the Cloud,,  If not controlled by SLAs, endusers will have difficulty measuring services provided and establishing accountability. Pricing will be murky.If Cloud services are hard to measure and account for, then endusers may be forced to reverse course and begin to hire talent and buy products again, an outcome that some IT products companies would welcome.

The PROMOTION METRIC

Product companies produce things. Service companies produce people at the right place at the right time with the right skills and tools to provide an effective service for customers.  To evaluate a service organization, it is critical to assess the morale of the workforce.

IN an earlier post, “Organic v. Commodity Growth,” we mentioned how  organic growth creates jobs within the organiazation, while “growth ” by acquisition creates  horizontal pressure on jobs.  When genuine growth is created by new sales, the organization expands vertically.  Higher- level technical and management jobs are created.  This in turn creates promotional opportunities for current employees.

Promotions are a rare occurance in an individual’s career.  They are life-changing events, creating not only a nice salary increase, but also a whole new career ceiling.  Promotions create high levels of job satisfaction.  If we are achieving  significant real revenue growth–say,20%+–then we should be able to sustain a promotion rate of at least 10%.

An unfortunate tendency that has been around forever is that sometimes weaker managers will block promotion opportunities for a high-performing employee–because they selfishly do not want to lose the employee’s productivity.   Healthy organizations protect against this behavior.  Heathy organizations have consistently high promotion rates, created by effective HR management and genuine growth.

Promotion rate is a useful metric to measure the morale and motivation levels within a service organization.