For a song…

This blog was inspired by work done by a group of us to assist in flood relief.  The project created the video “Carolyn and I” which to assist the fundraising effort.  You may want to follow this link after reading the blog, but I’ll leave that up to you.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog.  I can’t believe where the time has gone.  There are have been some challenges recently.  I’ve moved my home – I still run the company in Toronto, but we bought a beautiful house in Haliburton county – near Minden, Ontario.  I’m looking out at the loons on the lake as I write this.  Stunning view!

On a sadder note, my business partner and I split up in the past month.  Disagreements about how the business was to be run.  We had some conflicts, but I think the move to my new house really set things off.  We had one of our management meetings in a local cafe where we usually meet (no reason to not have pleasant surroundings for meetings).   It was at that meeting he said to me that he didn’t think I was committed to the business. Continue reading

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The Cloud Manifesto

The Catalyst for Cloud

I  just spent two great days in Banff at the Cloud Matters conference representing IT World Canada.  The conference had over 175 people and a star-studded list of speakers.  At the end of the conference, I was part of a panel where each member was asked to give three minutes on what we could do to provide a Catalyst for Cloud Computing in Canada.

Our panel consisted of:

  • Jim Love, CIO IT World Canada
  • Timothy Grayson, Director epost Product Development Canada Post
  • Chris C. Kemp, CEO Nebula and Co-Founder Open Stack
  • Peter Coffee, VP/CTO and Head of Platform Research Salesforce.com
  • William Dupley, Chief Solutions Officer HP Canada
  • Harpreet Dhillon, Cloud and Open Source Program Manager City of Calgary
  • Robert Hart, Founder and CEO Canadian Cloud Council
  • Wayne Walls, Chief Cloud Strategist Rackspace
  • Ian Rae, CEO CloudOps

My contribution took the form of a “rant” which I dubbed The Cloud Manifesto – A Catalyst for Cloud.  It was partly original opinion, partly ideas inspired by the speakers over the two days of the conference.    Here it is…

The Cloud Manifesto – A Catalyst for Cloud

Ten points which will provide a catalyst for the movement to Cloud computing: Continue reading

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Fear, Lies and Purpose

Today, I will not live in fear.

For all too many years, I did. I lived with fear.  Even as I write this I can replay the feeling.  The tightening muscles.  The cold rush of adrenaline.  It stops you dead in your tracks.

I won’t say anything trite like “fear has been my friend”.  It hasn’t been my friend.  It’s been my companion, but never my friend.

What did I fear?  The list is endless.  I’ll spare you the personal side of fear and for the sake of this piece I’ll focus on the fear that accompanied me in my career.

Would I be passed over for a promotion?  Would I make a mistake?  Not even real mistakes — I could work myself into a lather just thinking I could make a mistake.  I spent time wondering what could go wrong.  It wasn’t even fear of big consequences — even the shame, the blow to my ego of a mistake happening on my “watch”.   I even feared being wrong.

It wasn’t just the fear of mistakes.  There was another type of fear.  Fear of loss.   I feared losing my status — what if I wasn’t recognized for my accomplishments?  I even feared of losing things I didn’t even have — fear of not getting that promotion or that raise, that job I deserved. I could go on…and on…

I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out that I wasn’t alone.  If you didn’t feel this way at one time or another, you are in the remarkable few.  I applaud you.  The rest of us are as described by Thoreau, the poet and keen observer of the human conditions who once said, “most men lead lives of quiet desperation”.

One day, for me, that changed…

Continue reading

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They killed Neo – the Matrix resumes

Hackers for right, we are one down.(from a tweet by Tim Berners-Lee father of the World Wide Web)

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His eyes haunt me.  From those pictures that adorn the articles that pay tribute to this astonishing young man, he stares out at you.   Depending on the shot, he is alternately mysterious, thoughtful, intense and occasionally mischievous.

His accomplishments daunt me.  At 14 he was co-creator of RSS, the syndication process is at the core of internet publishing.   He co-founded Reddit the social news web-site which, love it or hate it, is one of the most active forums of real discussion on the internet.

His passion for freedom inspires me.  He was a co-founder of Demand Progress, a group which fights for Internet freedom.

His death diminishes us all.   Continue reading

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Several days after the end of the world…

I am told that the world ended on December 21st.  Not a minute too soon.

Not that anyone would miss it.  Not after this year!

Oh, yes, it started with great promise.  New Year’s Eve came with celebration, with hopes for a bright and wonderful future and of course, with the mandatory resolutions and promises for change.  By the next morning, New Year’s Day, throbbing heads and broken vows ushered in a year of faded hopes and broken dreams.  Three hundred and sixty-five crappy days to go.

It was a year where hopes were raised, only to be dashed again.

Arab Spring deteriorated into failed states and lost dreams.  We marvelled at the courage of the people in the streets.   We hoped for their liberation and the creation of authentic democracies.  We watched as the dreams faded.  We saw the new political order echo the words of the Who – “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

Not that things were any better on this side of the ocean.  The US election was a giant disappointment.  Was their ever a time when that nation truly needed to reinvent itself, to have a vigorous debate and contest of ideas?   This was truly an opportunity to unite a nation and meet the challenge of a difficult future.  Instead, it fizzled into schoolyard name calling where a divided nation electing the person they feared the least and even that by only a slim margin.  Deadlocked and leaderless, the once most powerful nation in the world marches lemming-like towards a fiscal cliff of their own making.

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Did Zuckerberg do it on purpose?

A post has been making the rounds on the internet titled, “It’s Becoming Clear That No One Actually Read Facebook’s IPO Prospectus Or Mark Zuckerberg’s Letter To Shareholders.

I had to admit that I was on the people who hadn’t read it.  Of course, why would I?  I wasn’t going to be buying any Facebook shares.

I didn’t need the  prospectus to know that the hype was not justified.  No matter how I looked at it, I couldn’t find a rationale that supported the price.

Where do I start?

If you understand what is going on in the world of on-line advertising — if you did the slightest bit of homework — it would be obvious that it would have taken a small miracle for Facebook to deliver earnings that would justify the sale price.   The only people who were going to make money on this deal were the original shareholders and  those same people who gave you the mortgage backed securities debacle that nearly torpedoed the US economy.

Or even without understanding the industry, if you looked at the fundamentals alone — earnings versus share price — there was no possible support for the share price.

The only explanation I could find for the price?  P. T. Barnum once said,  “There’s one born every minute.”  I wasn’t going to be part of it.  So I paid no attention.

And frankly, I wrote off Zuckerberg.

That, as it turns out, was a mistake. Continue reading

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