Category Archives: Internet

Major Projects Part 1

Some years ago I posted about the comments made by Sir Edward Leigh in regard to the conduct of major projects when he retired as Chairman of the UK Parliaments Public Accounts Committee.

It would seem that the comments made then are still pertinent today, perhaps even more so. My memory was jogged by the recent report from the Taxpayers Union of the apparent massive blowout in a new IRD computer system to handle changes to child support. Then I read the articles in The Dominion Post this morning regarding the transformation project underway at IRD.

The objectives of the changes are not unreasonable, what concerns me is the scale and potential complexity of the project.  In particular this comes at a time when IRD are looking at a massive project to replace existing and aged systems.

I intend to look at the issues around major projects in a series of posts over the next few weeks. My intent is to start with what appears at first sight to be a major blow-out, but on review may come up with a number of different questions requiring answer.

As background I have linked to Sir Edward’s letter, Edward_Leigh_Letter_28_March_2010 and to the IRD report on the child support system  Taxation Annual Rates for 201516 Research and Development and Remedial Matters Bill. In addition there is a link as well to a relevant McKinsey Quarterly article,  Delivering large-scale IT projects on time on budget and on value.


Adventures in the cloud

I have been using Dropbox  for some considerable time, but recently have looked at the product more seriously. The app allows you a good amount of free storage, plus bonuses for referrals.

Dropbox enables me to reduce, eliminate, reliance on USB sticks and external drives. Ease of use is excellent.

I can access the app via the web, plus I have the Dropbox client installed on my iPad Mini, Smartphone, personal laptop and my backup laptop. It makes storing, accessing and handling data of all types so much easier.

Should you decide to try Dropbox, please use this code  , as we will both get some bonus free storage.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is dead. A great shame for his family, friends and colleagues.

Yet I confess I find the outpourings of grief by so many somewhat OTT, and much of the media coverage equally so, for example the front page of the Dominion Post here in Wellington this week.

Jobs was a great businessman in many ways, but he was not a saint. In many ways he had the instincts of a monopolist given Apple’s success at creating a walled garden for its offerrings.

More on paywalls

Over the last months I have written quite a lot on new media and paywalls. Given my focus elsewhere recently I cannot at this minute reference all that I would wish, but this post by Nick Carr is very pertinent.

On being silly

As a consultant I write and have written  about the need to keep my promotional outlets and social media current.

Like so many I have ignored my own advice. Over the last little while I have not kept them as current as I should have.

So, I am human and make mistakes, but this is one I must learn from.

Tim Wu on Communication, Chaos, and Control

Tim Wu talks to Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker.

Jeffrey Toobin talks with Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School and the author of “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires,” about how forms of communication, from the telephone to the Internet, are eventually controlled by monopolies; the battle between Apple and Google; and the future of information technology.

Read more

Tim Wu (traditional Chinese: 吳修銘) is a professor at Columbia Law School, the chair of media reform group Free Press, and a writer for Slate Magazine.[1] He is best known for popularizing the concept of network neutrality in his paper Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination. The paper considered network neutrality in terms of neutrality between applications, as well as neutrality between data and Quality of Service-sensitive traffic, and proposed some legislation to potentially deal with these issues

Wu’s academic specialties are copyright and telecommunications policy. For his work in this area, Professor Wu was named one of Scientific Americans 50 people of the year in 2006. In 2007 Wu was named one of Harvard University‘s 100 most influential graduates by 02138 magazine.(Source Wikipedia)

Wu makes some interesting points.

Some advance reviews of Professor Wu’s new book The Master Switch:-

“An explosive history that makes it clear how the information business became what it is today. Important reading.”
Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More and Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing; editor of Wired Magazine

“Wu’s book is both a masterful media history and an outline for the future of the digital age. The Master Switch brilliantly describes the never-ending tension between open and closed media, as it has effected everything from the printing press to the web, and details ways society might be able to prevent the disastrous closing down of digital freedoms currently threatening the open internet.”
—Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organization and Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age

“Every now and then a book changes the way we understand the world. The Master Switch is such an achievement; it is a rigorous, imaginative and enthralling history of the Twentieth Century struggle among utopian innovators, profit-maximizing monopolists, and their often-hapless regulators. Wu has convincingly reinterpreted our media past, and by doing so, he has illuminated the risks to open media and Internet-enabled innovation that confront us in the present.”
—Steve Coll, President, New American Foundation and Pulitzer Prize winning author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

NB: The book is available on Amazon from November 2

I am looking forward to seeing if the book lives up to the hype!

A little touch of iPad in the night!

From the Department of Whimsy :-

Touch Me

Yesterday, the NPD Group released the results of a survey of iPad owners. The most intriguing finding was that “20 percent of users’ time with the iPad was spent with it in bed.” One has to wonder what other sorts of activities are being displaced by the nocturnal stroking of the iPad’s highly responsive screen.

posted by Nicholas Carr at his blog 1 October

Facebook – the movie!

In existence only a few years and now it is the subject of a major movie.

The Social Network, the new movie, released in the US October 1, directed by David Fincher, Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Fight Club – Zodiac, and written by Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, is about Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook.

This extensive review in The New Yorker, by David Denby, begins:-

The Social Network,” directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, rushes through a coruscating series of exhilarations and desolations, triumphs and betrayals, and ends with what feels like darkness closing in on an isolated soul. This brilliantly entertaining and emotionally wrenching movie is built around a melancholy paradox: in 2003, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), a nineteen-year-old Harvard sophomore, invents Facebook and eventually creates a five-hundred-million-strong network of “friends,” but Zuckerberg is so egotistical, work-obsessed, and withdrawn that he can’t stay close to anyone; he blows off his only real pal, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), a fellow Jewish student at Harvard, who helps him launch the site. The movie is not a conventionally priggish tale of youthful innocence corrupted by riches; nor is it merely a sarcastic arrow shot into the heart of a poor little rich boy. Both themes are there, but the dramatic development of the material pushes beyond simplicities, and the portrait of Zuckerberg is many-sided and ambiguous; no two viewers will see him in quite the same way. The debate about the movie’s accuracy has already begun, but Fincher and Sorkin, selecting from known facts and then freely interpreting them, have created a work of art.
I am looking forward to the movie being available in NZ. It will be interesting to see in the future whether ‘truth’ is the movie or whether the actual reality. After all as two characters in John Ford’s Western classic  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance remark after the real version of the event is told:-

Ransom Stoddard: You’re not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?
Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Cynically, I suspect The Social Network will prove the essential truth of that observation.

However, it will be fascinating to see how the creator of one of the phenomena of our time is treated. In that regard , I found this comment in the review very interesting and thought provoking:-

By focussing on the moment of creation, Fincher and Sorkin are getting at something new. From the first scene to the last, “The Social Network” hints at a psychological shift produced by the Information Age, a new impersonality that affects almost everyone. After all, Facebook, like Zuckerberg, is a paradox: a Web site that celebrates the aura of intimacy while providing the relief of distance, substituting bodiless sharing and the thrills of self-created celebrityhood for close encounters of the first kind. Karl Marx suggested that, in the capitalist age, we began to treat one another as commodities. “The Social Network” suggests that we now treat one another as packets of information. Mark Zuckerberg, as interpreted by this film, comes off as a binary personality. As far as he’s concerned, either you’re for him or you’re against him. Either you have information that he can use or you don’t. Apart from that, he’s not interested.
In that regard readers might find this profile of Mark Zuckerberg, from The New Yorker of interest.
Given the comment noted above from the review, my earlier post of an interview Zuckerberg gave to the WSJ is, I suggest worth looking at, as Zuckerberg did not appear really all that comfortable in that session.
At the end of the day it will be interesting to see whether or not viewers of the movie agree with Denby’s summation:-
It may not be fair to Zuckerberg, but Sorkin and Fincher have set him up as a symbolic man of the age, a supremely functional prince of dysfunction. Charles Foster Kane was convivial and outgoing; Zuckerberg engages only the world he is creating. But those viewers who think of him as nothing more than a vindictive little shit will be responding to only one part of him. He’s a revolutionary because he broods on his personal grievances and, as insensitive as he is, reaches the aggrieved element in everyone, the human desire for response. He’s meant to be a hero—certainly he’s Fincher’s hero, an artist working in code who sticks to his vision and is helpless to prevent himself from suffering the most wounding personal loss.
In addition, will the movie impact on how we look at Social Media? It will probably impact on how we perceive Zuckerberg. Will it illuminate any of the issues relating to Social Media and how we use it?

How Content and Social Media Equal Marketing Success

I came across this interesting item today regarding the use of Social Media

In this video Michael Stelzner, of Social Media  Examiner,  interviews Joe Pulizzi, author of Get Content, Get Customers. Joe is an expert in the world of content. Listen to Joe explain why you must have a content marketing strategy before you have a social media strategy. Joe connects the dots between content and social media.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you are interested in using Social Media, then Michael Stelzner says that this video will help you consider:-

  • How to take your sales hat off and put on the publishing hat on
  • Why you need something interesting to say to say
  • What you need to do first before you write your report
  • How to add social tools in your content strategy
  • Why you need to know where your customers are hanging out online
  • How to get the most bang on your buck for your content marketing strategy
  • What content works best on social media
  • What’s changing today with regards to content marketing

Furthermore he provides a free download of  the Content Playbook (it’s free) to find 42 different content tactics you can use.

Some interesting points come out of the video and related download. Worth looking at and thinking about. In essence this is about the application of commonsense and forethought. As always understanding what your customer wants/needs is key.

Interview with Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg talks with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal. The focus of this extract is on the issue of privacy and the way Facebook introduces changes to settings.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Article text is here