Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
JetBlue's CEO David Neeleman was on CNN's "This American Morning" earlier this morning announcing JetBlue's Customer Bill of Rights, which includes $1,000 awards for passengers bumped due to overbooking.
Neeleman has also changed his Web tune, putting a video up on YouTube and speaking directly to customers via the Internets. He seemed most apologetic and sincere, and seemed genuinely interested in fixing the problems that led to JetBlue's challenges. Well done, and I very much look forward to my flight to NY on his airline today.
Meanwhile, Doc Searls outlines all kinds of reasons why the XM/Sirius merger isn't good for consumers, not the least of which is antitrust. As Doc writes, "Imagine if one company owned the whole FM band."
You mean, they don't already?
I'm just waiting to hear details of that first water cooler chat between Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey. Which one's gonna blink and say "Nice hairdo" first?
But enough of satellite radio, let's talk terrestrial technology back here on terra firma for a moment.
Pui-Wing Tam has a IT manager's dream piece (reg required) in today's Wall Street Journal about the more strategic role CIOs are taking on these days.
Let's begin with the end of the article in mind, in which Chevron CIO Louie Ehrlich says "A CIO should be enabling a business to grow."
As opposed to, say, simply managing vast networks of computer systems or upgrading said systems to Windows Vista.
An example of this new, more strategic role: H&R Block CIO Marc West working to build new online tax offerings via H&R's Web site.
Tam cites more and more CIOs reporting into top execs such as CEOs, CFOs, COOs, etc. as a key barometer of this trend.
Hey, considering the number of CEOs busy building new shareholder value while playing BrickBreaker on their BlackBerrys, somebody's gotta step up and get some real work done![Read More]
IBM Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) Harriet Pearson recently sat down with ComputerWorld for an interview to discuss what CIOs and CEOs need to understand about data privacy and protection, the role of the CPO, and other relevant risk management topics.
Harriet has been a key thought leader in the data protection and privacy space for some years now, and I had the opportunity many Internet dog years ago to work with her on a number of Internet-related privacy issues on behalf of IBM. It's clear from this interview that the privacy space has matured since that time.
In the interview, Harriet also discusses ever more practical considerations, such as the optimum reporting structure for privacy officers and the characteristics that make up a good CPO.
As seen on CNN this AM: One Steven Martinez was scuba diving for golf balls in Boynton Beach, Florida, earlier this week when he was attacked by a 9-foot alligator.
Apparently, the alligator went directly after Mr. Martinez's air supply by attacking his scuba tank, although I imagine what the gator was really after were the Titleist Pro V1 golf balls stuffed away in his scuba bag of goodies (a box of Pro V1s has an MSRP of $58, according to a recent visit to the Titleist Web site.)
Fortunately for Mr. Martinez, he survived and was treated for minor injuries. The alligator, however, was not quite so fortunate -- it was slated to be sent packing to those Great Everglades in the sky, sans the V1s.
Me, I'll stick with my Top Flites, and try to avoid mixing the diving and driving.
Champagne or Orange Juice?
Meanwhile, let me bring to your attention yesterday's announcement of IBM's System z9 Business Class (z9 BC, for short) mainframe computers.
Designed to help smaller companies do more work with less computers at higher rates of IT utilization, these babies can do what it used to take tens or hundreds of servers to do. Yes, there's a server utilization efficiency story there, but as oil hovers around $70 a barrel, it can also help save on energy costs and floor space (not to mention the nightmare of trying to manage and keep track of all those servers named after characters from obscure science fiction novels.)
You can read here what some analysts have said about travelling via z9 Business Class -- and mind you, while quotes about mainframe computing aren't the most pithy and quotable around, this one stood out: "...[it] should help IBM extend its reach into new markets running new workloads." Simple and pithy, don't you think?
Now, would you like a hot towel before dinner?[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  cio information_management media ibm_software 7 Comments 4,124 Views
The feature on this week's ibm.com home page is "The Future of Sports," and as I read through drafts of some of the story's components -- including listening to the excellent future of sports podcast - it dawned on me that there may have never been a better time to be an athlete or a sports fan.
Full disclosure: My name is Todd, and I'm a sportsaholic. I grew up in north Texas, near Dallas, where football was as close to a religion as one could get without going to church, and where Little League baseball diamonds were a fixture permanently etched into the landscape. In my adolescence, I played both baseball and football, and also dabbled in soccer, basketball, cross country, golf, and even rodeo (yes, we do consider rodeo to be a sport...same with NASCAR...but more on that later).
I was never a star player, particularly in team sports, but I relished the opportunity and experience of playing both organized team and individual sports, and my participation taught me no end of lessons: teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, sacrifice, perserverance, how to throw my golf putter into a lake with style and finesse but also with the appropriate amount of anger...all qualities that I would inevitably call upon in later years for my business life.
Sporting Solutions for a Small Planet
In my travels for and work experiences on behalf of IBM, I've been most fortunate to have escaped the boundaries of my own geography and culture, and witnessed what sports means around the world, both virtually and up close.
Instant replay: On one of my international business trips, to Munich, I watched in fascination at the complete preoccupation of my European colleagues with the 1998 World Cup, and realized that no matter where in the world you are, football is football...except in Europe, where soccer is football, which my European colleagues were quick to point out...but my real point in mentioning it was this: sport is sport around the globe, certainly even as one man's sport is another man's bore.
I also learned that sport, like politics, is mostly local, even as it plays a crucial and necessary role in shaping national and even state identity...but it's mostly local. My tribe...err, I mean my team, is always better than your team, except when my team loses, in which case it's time to elect a new president...err, I mean hire a new coach.
Yet with the dramatic changes in technology over the past decade, what was once local has become instantaneously global.
Just this past weekend, by way of example, I watched as Tiger Woods played (and eventually won) the Dubai Desert Classic, a golf tournament halfway around the world -- sometimes in real-time and at others in instant replay. I had no end of options to read about or follow it closely, including the IBM-sponsored PGATour.Com But the best part was that I had any option at all, something avid sports fans didn't have when growing up with Jim McKay and ABC's "The Wide World of Sports."
The agony of victory and thrill of defeat was all well and good in the wide world of sports, up until about the time the shackles of broadcast commercial TV delayed replays or blackouts and forced you to miss the one game you really wanted to see in that not-very-wide-world-after-all. Call it the agony of oligopoly, where the channels of opportunity were limited by the scarcity of broadcast spectrum and, in turn, the limited number of sports media outlets. The endless capacity of the Internet precludes that from being an issue for the virtual world of sports.
IBM: Helping Fans Get Closer to the Action
Sport has always been very much an "on demand"-oriented endeavor, especially in terms of the need for instantaneous information and results. Thus, the global and individual accessibility of the Internet pairs nicely with the required immediacy of sports.
IBM's innovation in bringing technology to sports occurred early on in the Internet game, beginning with our early IT sponsorships of the U.S. Open, the Masters and PGA Tour, the Olympics, and others. In those experiences, we learned a great deal about the utility and applicability of our technology and the unique power of the Internet to address some very time-sensitive business problems, the lessons of which informed and shaped our product development.
These efforts helped us more effectively address other customers' problems through the lessons we learned from these sports sponsorships, some harder than others. Like the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, when IBM stumbled onto the javelin after being unable to deliver a critical scoring results feed to the news media, who were using the timely information in that feed to inform the rest of the planet. Lesson learned.
That very same year, IBM delivered live results of Tiger Woods' historic and relentless march up the fairways of Augusta to take his first green jacket. The Java-based Internet scorecard developed expressly for the Masters was the first of many innovations in our sports coverage efforts (read my account of a more recent one about the "Point Tracker" from last September's U.S. Open).
And from what I can surmise as I scan the fast-changing digital media landscape, this game is just getting rolling. IP-based digital media online is probably the most recent and important evolution for sports coverage in recent years, and is opening up whole new opportunities for athlete and fan interaction. You've also got fantasy sports leagues, online and console gaming, IPTV...all putting fans closer and closer to the action, and sometimes even directly into the driver's seat.
Gentlemen, Turn On Your Remotes
Take NASCAR, as an example. Just recently, Time Warner Cable sent me an invitation to subscribe to its new "NASCAR In Car" digital cable offering, which will allow me to watch "6 drivers on 6 in-car camera channels with live team audio and real-time in car-data." Does that mean I also get to experience driving into the wall of the Texas Motor Speedway at 180 MPH??? (Read a recent story in CIO magazine to learn how technology is changing NASCAR and helping it build its booming business.) Without the ability to provide multiple feeds through an IP-based broadband pipe, such a feat would have been impossible even just a few short years ago.
The point is this: Moving forward, no matter where in the world you may be, technology is going to allow you to follow your favorite team or athlete no matter where in the world they may be at the moment of, at - and even after -- the event, and increasingly via the device of your choice (Anyone see those ESPN Mobile TV ads in the Super Bowl last night? You thought people talking on the phone at the movies or restaurants was an etiquette issue? Just you wait until you can watch them jump up and down cheering at your cousin's wedding when the Steelers go for two and make it.)
People's behavior and the technology opportunity will certainly have to catch up with one another and make some adjustments, but the best news of all is that fans are going to be able to become a more integral partner in the experience, making the convergence of technology and sports the new team to watch.
I'm personally very much looking forward to the day when I can play in a virtual 3-D foresome with Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger. Until that time, I'll keep practicing my course management on the X-Box.[Read More]
A follow-up to my previous post on the coming Blackberry freeze. The cold north winds just picked up, prepare to rest your thumbs.
In a ruling yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a request to review NTP's patent infringment ruling against it. The case now reverts back to a U.S. district court for continued adjudication.
Can We Use Smoke Signals?
Before you go into thumberry withdrawal, know that there are options. Worst case, NTP's requested injunction forces RIM to go radio silent, which would negatively affect some 4.3 million U.S. subscribers. However, know NTP has agreed that such an injunction would NOT affect U.S., federal, state, or local governments, which had previously been a concern.
Best case? NTP and Research in Motion (RIM) settle, share their marbles, and enable the continued operation of of Wall Street analysts and traders everywhere.
RIM put this press release on its Web site and indicated that it had already prepared contingencies, none of which do, in fact, include reverting to smoke signals.
However, because I like burning things, I stand ready on my hill in South Austin prepared to convey messages to any disconnected downtown Austin Blackberryites who also happen to be IBM customers. Non-IBM customers will receive passed along messages via smoke signals on an as-available basis, but please understand in advance that my woodpile is not very large.
More details as they emerge...assuming the Blackberry service stays up long enough to deliver them.[Read More]
Uh, could somebody tell me where my desk is? My blog? My job? Sorry, what is it that I do for a living again?
My profuse apologies, but I'm having a terribly difficult time getting back into the swing of full-time employment after a scandalously terrific holiday, part of it spending some quality time with the family, and the other doing some more swimming with the fishes in Cozumel (an island which, by the way, seems to have rebounded from its own hurricane [Wilma] with a lightning fast response from its government and populace and, an island which is very much back in business).
Therefore, I've made no significant New Year's resolutions this year, neither personally nor professionally. That would simply be setting me up for failure, both personally and professionally.
However, there are plenty of prognosticators projecting our info tech future, and I thought it might be interesting to kick off the year by listening to what some of the professional soothsayers have to say.
The Crystal Tech Ball
MSN's Squawk Mark Stahlman predicts a big boost in corporate spending on IT, calling it a "trifecta." One, large companies dramatically increase their IT spend to drive top line growth; two, SMBs will begin to move into Vista (Microsoft's new OS); and three, consumers will continue to pour money into new PCs and high-def everything. Most interestingly, Stahlman notes that new accounting requirements from Sarbanes-Oxley are kicking in, elevating the status of CIOs and allowing them to use some of those piggy bank savings to spend on new tech.
Forbes' Daniel Lyons asserts that open source software will continue to "change the rules of the information technology game," and force vendors like IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle to "develop new strategies for coping with open source upstarts like Jboss, Linux, and MySQL." At the same time, he believes that big corporate users will "drive down their costs by displacing expensive programs with open source alternatives."
Next, according to the 2005/2006 Harvey Nash USA CIO Market Survey (sponsored by Harvey Nash Group PLC and Pricewaterhouse Coopers), a quarter of the CIOS and IT executives polled are reporting an increase in IT budgets of between 10 and 20 percent, while 13 percent expect budgets to rise by more than 20%. Their net on the situation: The recession-delimited IT spend has led to pent-up demand for operational improvements. This newfound budget is also expected to lead to increased IT hiring, and because the 70% CIO job satisfaction rating suggests they're happy in their jobs, they're ready to get some serious business-enabling tech work done.
The most interesting tidbit I clawed out of the Harvey Nash survey was this: The CIO role is becoming more strategic, with more IT leaders playing a more active role in developing the new business opportunities that tech can facilitate.
Put all this together, and it suggests that 2006 could prove to be a banner year for the strategic use of IT: More cap-x investment from more involved CIOs implementing more open source providing better value and a more effective IT spend leading to more efficient business operations that provide mo better business results![Read More]