IBM's 2Q earnings were just released.
Here's the net:
- Diluted earnings of $2.32 per share, up 18 percent
- Raising of full-year 2009 EPS expectations to at least $9.70 (from $9.20)
- Free cash flow of $3.4B; cash balance of $12.5B
Net income was $3.1B, up 12%, and with a net margin of 13.3% (up 3.0 points).
Pre-tax income margin was 18.3%, up 4.1 points, the largest increase in more than 3 years.
Gross profit margin was 45.5%, up 2.3 points (and up 19 of the last 20 quarters).
Software pre-tax margin was up 8.3 points, and income up 24 percent, with full-year 2009 software PTI expected to grow at double-digit rate and reach $8B.
Services pre-tax margin was up 4.1 points, and income up 23%.
Services signings were up 3%, and strategic outsourcing signings were up 38% (both adjusting for currency).
There were 17 services deals greater than $100 million signed in the quarter, and public sector revenue was up 7% (also adjusting for currency).
As a headline, IBM's earnings per share were the highest for any first, second, or third quarter in company history.
Commented our CEO, Sam Palmisano: "As a result of our strategic transformation, we have a very strong business model that is delivering superior earnings, cash, and client value."
"We have continued our strategic investments in Smarter Planet solutions, business analytics and next generation data centers. As a result we are optimistic about how IBM is positioned to make the most of current growth opportunities as well as those that emerge as the economy recovers. We are well ahead of pace for our 2010 roadmap of $10 to $11 per share."
Go IBM team, go.
All those international flights in coach are paying off!
And all the details of IBM 2Q09 earnings available here.
Technorati Tags: earnings, ibm, smarter planet, sam palmisano
I don't get out nearly enough these days.
That includes to TechCrunch.
But this AM, I found my way there and learned about what I think can only now be appropriately termed "Twittergate."
Leaked confidential documents. Virtual break-ins.
Quick, somebody call Bob Woodward.
We need him to take a secret meeting at an Internet and gaming cafe to meet with "Deep Tweet!"
To catch you up, TechCrunch was sent a whole bunch of confidential Twitter documents: executive meeting notes, partner agreements, financial projections, calendars and phone logs, notres from high-level prospective employees (many of whom didn't end up at Twitter and are still at their current jobs...)...
310 documents in all.
Arrington's latest post was mulling which, if any, of the documents should be made public (hey, news is news!).
The troubling part of the story is how a hacker named "Hacker Croll" was allegedly able to crack the Twitter account of founder Evan Williams and several Twitter employees, along with a number of other Web sites (Paypal, Amazaon, Gmail, etc.), and then later send those documents on to Arrington.
That part of the story is covered in another TechCrunch post.
If it's that easy to crack the passwords for several accounts of cloud services for the CEO of a major upstart technology service like Twitter, and then reveal strategic and highly sensitive HR documents...well, somebody just put a big dent in the ever-growing cloud, in my opinion.
It suggests to me that companies everywhere need to start coming up with guidelines on what company information employees should and should not be allowed to incorporate into public cloud services, no matter how good the security regime.
Just the other day, I got an email survey from our own IBM IT organization asking me whether or not I put confidential or highly personal information on my Blackberry outside of the encrypted email.
I don't...well, mostly.
Of course, what seems personal that has not been publicly revealed is likely very different than that which ends up on the front page of the New York Times...or TechCrunch.
Arrington is right...the Twitter story is news...but it didn't have to be.
So here's a requisite and shameless plug for IBM's Consulting Security Services.
Just in case you'd like to play a little offense.
Technorati Tags: cloud computing, evan williams, security, twitter
My iPod nano came back to life over the weekend.
I didn't do anything to resuscitate it.
No bag of rice, no voodoo ceremonies...
I just plugged it in again to see if it would charge, and it did.
iPod nano: Takes a licking...and a spin around the Whirlpool...and keeps on rocking.
In the meantime, I really dig nano's replacement (now supplement), the iPod Shuffle...but one does miss the screen, and I had to develop a playlist strategy for the Shuffle to really work, as scrolling through that voiceover to get to the right song can be a lotta effort.
In the meantime, on the media front, a friend of mine was visiting on Saturday to watch the U.S./Haiti soccer match.
He has a son who's not even quite yet a teenager, but who is probably one of the most computer and game console savvy kids I've met.
He had one of those new Nintendo DS machines, and the game he was playing on it was wicked cool.
It got me to thinking about how different the world is for kids his age vs. me when I was at that age (Atari 2600, Space Invaders, etc.)
Then this morning I happened upon coverage of this Morgan Stanley study that just came out, written by a 15 year-old.
Matthew Robson is a Morgan Stanley intern, and was asked to report what he and his peers wanted from the information-entertainment industries.
Among his insights: Newspapers and other print media are "irrelevant" to them, teenagers don't Twitter, they resent intrusive advertising, they're watching less TV and more online video, and they are "heavily active" on social networking sites such as Facebook.
You can read the Bloomberg story for all the nuggets, but what's most interesting to me is that the research note generated 5-6 times more feedback from CEOs and fund managers than the "average" report.
I've always maintained that if you really want to understand what's going on with the Interwebs, talk to a teenager.
Props to Morgan Stanley for actually doing so.
Technorati Tags: digital divide, milennials, morgan stanley, nintendo, ipod
I haven't blogged much this week because I've been neck deep in meetings and phone calls and emails and you name it.
But I haven't completely missed all the news -- new Google OS, the cyber attacks, etc. -- that is, when I'm not waiting for my Firefox browser on the Mac to try and catch up with the rest of the world (is anybody else seeing that performance slowdown? It's enough to make me want to go to the Opera!)
Me, I just yawned at Google's OS.
So now they have an Android and a Chrome? Maybe they can have the two meet in the middle and make an R2D2.
It could just be me, but it all feels so very 1991, OS2 Warp v. Windows 3.0-ish and...well, we know how that one turned out.
I'm all for computing in the cloud, but myself, I've just noticed way too many times how unconnected I am.
Like, oh, somewhere 35,000 feet above the Pacific, or in an IBM conference room somewhere in the Czech Republic where I can't get online...so, my point being, good luck with all that. When you're connected to the cloud, it's great. When you're not, you feel lost and alone and...well, unconnected.
My Acer NetBook, which is loaded with both XP and the Ubuntu notebook shell...well, let's just say the dust on top isn't yet quite an inch thick, and I was excited about being able to use it while traveling, because it's so much lighter.
Though the computer itself is fine, I keep finding myself needing files back on my MacBookPro, and no amount of cloud is worth the wait it would take to try and keep all those PowerPoints and Word docs synched up.
Life's too short, and I've got golf courses to play.
Speaking of which, I had an iPod story I wanted to share, one which nicely reveals the power of crowdsourcing in the age of Twitter and Facebook.
I was doing my laundry a couple of weeks back when I realized I was cleaning not only my clothes but also my nearly four year-old iPod nano.
When I pulled the Turbo nano out of the washing machine, I could see that it kind of looked inside the nano screen how it looks when you're looking into the actual washing machine -- very wet and soapy.
So, based on some urban myths I'd heard, I put it out on the deck to bake in the hot Austin sun for a couple of days, being careful not to turn it on, so that the water would evaporate, which it did.
But when I eventually tried to recharge the battery, it didn't take, so I went ahead and ordered a new iPod Shuffle online.
The Shuffle, I learned, is smaller than a USB drive, and has a nice clip you can put on your shirt while jogging, so I'm perfectly happy to have made the upgrade.
But when I mentioned that the nano was dead in the water, so to speak, via Twitter (and, hence, to my Facebook status), I was blown away by how much feedback and suggestions I received.
One of my old bosses out in San Fran told me to put that sucker into a bag of dry rice and let it sit for a couple of days.
Others told me to put it out in the sun.
And so on.
Though I'm obviously an evangelist for the effectiveness and opportunity presented by the social media, it's crowdsourcing moments like that which serve as a big shot of adrenalin.
Who says the watercooler is dead?
If anything, the watercooler has been replaced by one of those massive water towers, the likes of which helped provide water for my hometown of Denton when I was growing up.
I just have to make sure I keep my new iPod Shuffle far, far away from it. : )
Technorati Tags: crowdsourcing, google, ipod, social media, shuffle
Yesterday IBM released a new study of midsize organizations in 17 countries to get a pulse on the state-of-the-state of their IT plans.
The results suggest that companies have not been deterred from their strategic IT initiatives, despite a clear call to cut costs in a difficult economy.
Five key trends emerged in the study:
- The highest-priority tech solution (75%) is information management, which means turning mountains of data into meaningful insights
- The most pressing business challenges include increasing efficiency and productivity (80%), improving customer care (74%), and better use of information (72%)
- The impact of the economy on IT budgets has caused 53% to actually increase or re-prioritize their spending, while 37% report a decrease
- More than two-thirds surveyed are planning or currently implementing their top IT priorities
- A majority of firms view their primary IT provider as a technology advisor or IT and business consultant, while 25% see the relationship as purely transactional
You can read the full study here (PDF, 3.3MB).
Technorati Tags: it trends, market research, small business, smb
What do you say after something like that?
I know a lot of people have decried the phenomenon that is Michael Jackson these past couple of weeks.
At times, I've been right there with them. Overkill. Too much. Too often. Enough.
But I was also a longtime fan of Michael Jackson, as I mentioned in a post when I first heard the news, and though I was more than happy to stay far away from downtown LA today, I, too, wanted to see MJ be given an appropriate farewell.
And though there's been a lot of hullaballoo about the memorial service -- the traffic, the tickets, the crowds, the money, and so on -- it was easy to forget in all this that a family and friends lost a loved one.
I think Brooke Shields reminded all of us of that.
Her words and the pain she expressed at the loss of her friend...well, it was not only heartfelt, it was downright heartbreaking.
Shield's comments were very revealing, not only about her friendship with Michael Jackson, but also about the loneliness and perversion of childhood celebrity.
That may ought be the most important lesson and legacy Michael Jackson leaves in his wake.
To everyone who was involved in the ceremony -- the Jackson family, the City of Los Angeles and the LAPD, AEG -- thank you.
It was a beautiful and very tastefully done memorial service, and the performances -- from Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, brother Jermaine -- were all quite moving.
After all the hype, the reality and sadness of the moment was revealed with humanity and respect, and MJ's daughter Paris' emotional goodbye reminds us that in the end, several children lost their father.
No amount of mass mediated or social mediated or other hyperbolic media can eliminate that sense of loss.
Even as Michael reminded us from the great beyond, that though our hearts are aching we should all continue to smile.
For those of you who celebrated American Independence over the long weekend, I hope you and yours enjoyed yourself and didn't find yourself impacted by any stray fireworks.
The heat wave continued here in Austin, apparently reaching at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of town...but that didn't seem to put a damper on the celebration.
It certainly made for good weather to stay indoors and watch Roger Federer take his 15th Grand Slam tennis major, this time at Wimbledon.
Austin's own Andy Roddick played an unbelievable match, pouring his heart and soul into taking on RF, but it just wasn't to be.
Keep your chin up, Andy. You made us Austinites incredibly proud!
And back at the ATT Congressional, just after texting Roger Federer his congrats for breaking Pete Sampras' record of 14 tennis majors, Tiger Woods continued his reign of golf terror at the tournament he also hosts.
Upstart Anthony Kim got his wish to be paired with the Great Golf One, but then promptly watch his tied lead go promptly south as Tiger plopped one laser approach shot after the other, proving once again that golf is as much a game of strategy as it is of "grip and rip."
When Tiger didn't take a second shot run on the par-5 16th, a hole he eagled on Saturday -- instead deciding to lay up 100+ yards out from the green -- I knew it was all over but the crying, and that I was once again watching a golf maestro. Most golfers would have greedily took aim to hit that green in two, and most golfers don't have the shot. Tiger did, and even he didn't take it. That took some serious self-restraint.
Speaking of maestros, I would be remiss in also not recognizing the comeback efforts of another Austin sports great, our own Lance Armstrong, as he returns to the Tour de France to seek his record-breaking eighth title.
After the first two stages, Lance was only 40 seconds off the pace and in a very strong tenth position, although rivaled by his Astana teammate, Levi Leipheimer.
It remains to be seen if Lance has enough stuff to take the eighth, but no matter the ultimate outcome, his continued rallying cry to continue emphasizing healthier lifestyles and cancer survivorship will echo during Le Tour around the globe.
If you want to hear directly from Lance, check out his Tour blog.
As for technology use this weekend...well, I did my level best to stay away from it, and mostly succeeded (although I do admit I'm a BlackBerry junkie on the golf course, if for no other reason than to kill time between slow holes).
As to my own golf game, I turned in an 83 in the searing heat yesterday out at Riverside, the golf course where Little Red Book golf master Harvey Penick taught the game for so many years, and where Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw cut their golf teeth.
In 100+ degrees, I'll take an 83 every day of the week!
Technorati Tags: att congressional, andy roddick, roger federer, lance armstrong, tiger woods, wimbledon
Okay, we've got some good news, and we've got some bad news.
Which do you want first?
Okay, I'll start with the bad news and get that outta the way.
In its recent "U.S. and Global IT Market Outlook: Q2 2009," Forrester Research has forecasted that global IT spending will decline by nearly 11% in 2009.
According to coverage in NetworkWorld, the U.S. drop will be down 5.1% (two percentage points more than previously forecast).
The reason? A "ghastly" first quarter (I thought it was relatively ghastly myself), and "likely similarly poor results in Q2" (Doh!...Can't comment on those Q2 numbers just yet.).
Now for the good news.
Vendors and end-user organizations apparently believe we'll start to see some signs of recovery later this year and early next.
The Forrester report also suggests that the pullback is reducing spend across all categories of IT: Software, hardware, telco equipment.
It's an equal opportunity IT spending pullback.
Can you hear the giant sucking sound?
Shhh, just listen....There it is, can you hear it? It's slowing down, bit by bit.
According to Forrester, the even better news is that the bad news could have been so much worse.
It's no small privilege for me to help deliver such bad tidings when it could have been sooooo much worse.
Further, nominal GDP growth helped prevent a further decline, but the credit crunch "caused IT capital purchases to drop like a stone," with "companies large and small" being shut out of credit markets.
So what's a poor hungry tech vendor to do?
In 2H09, it's time to restart those IT marketing engines.
However, focus not only on the efficiency story (always great in a slowdown), but also highlight the opportunity your products and solutions can provide to drive growth.
Coming out of a downturn, it's always all about revving up growth.
This also presents an opportunity to highlight reference clients (including word-of-mouth via the social media!) which are leveraging IT for real and distinct competitive advantage.
Okay, we'll bite.
Here's one from the European Horticultural industry, Danish company Container Centralen.
Europe's largest provider of re-usable transport equipment and services, Container Centralen is now using IBM sensor technology (including RFID tags) to allow its horticultural supply chain participants to track the progress of shipments of flowers and plants from wholesalers to retailers across 40 countries in Europe.
As former U.S. First Lady and fellow Texan Lady Bird Johnson once said, "Where flowers bloom so does hope."
Kudos to Container Centralen for their very smart transportation solution.
And here's hoping a few million new IT projects bloom across the globe very soon!
Technorati Tags: forrester, it growth, container centralen, smarter transportation
Today is the day that Bernie Madoff will learn his fate.
The U.S. Attorney's office in NYC has asked for the statutory maximum of 150 years.
Whatever the sentence, hopefully this will bring at least some closure to the thousands who were swindled out of their life savings.
As for closure, we received some soccer closure yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa, as Brazil upended the USA 3-2 in the Confederations Cup, in the U.S.' first ever appearance in a FIFA match final anywhere.
If you watched the game, you know it was a game of halves, the first belonging to the U.S., the second belonging to Brazil.
It was great fun following the Twitterstream live during the game, as more and more people "awakened" to the possibility that the U.S. might take the match, considering they outscored Brazil 2-0 in the first half.
Alas, it wasn't to be, but hey, who the heck expected the USA to make it to a FIFA match final in the first place??? And to beat the European national champion, Spain, to get there? Are you serious??!
No matter the outcome, it was an incredible soccer match, with both teams giving it their all, and a nice appetizer as we futbol fans around the globe unite in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
As Brazil scooted past the U.S. in Johannesburg, news is scooting out that Microsoft may be putting digital marketing arm Razorfish up for sale, with French marketing company Publicis expected to be a possible bidder, according to the Financial Times.
I would expect some serious consolidation in the digital space as companies prepare for the (eventual?) upturn, but am finding many of those partners are ill-equipped to understand and embrace the social media space.
But more on that in a future post.
Technorati Tags: bernie madoff, world cup, soccer, social media, throw the keys away
Speaking of London, I'm headed back to Austin, Texas, today, where at last count, it was about 40 degrees Centigrade (for my Londoner friends).
Want to come with? Ha, I thought not.
I've quite enjoyed the sunny and brilliant June weather here all week, and I've enjoyed even more the company of my fellow colleagues and business associates.
Thanks to the folks with the MTO Summit for the speaking opportunity that brought me here to begin with, where we discussed how social media can be leveraged with events exhibitors in the UK marketplace (which seemingly needs a good shot in the arm about now!).
Also, thanks for the sharing and insights from the various agency partners and vendors with whom I spent some time, including the folks at Neo, Text100 and BazaarVoice. I hope you enjoyed our time together as much as I.
And for now, I'm off to Heathrow on my last Underground ride for this visit, and into the clearly climate-change impacted city of Austin, Texas., where it was balmy 108 degrees Fahrenheit there yesterday.
Technorati Tags: business travel, london, climate change
When I went to bed last night here in London, I had just caught the news that Michael Jackson had been rushed to the hospital.
When I awakened this morning, the news reported that he had passed away.
Jackson was scheduled to perform 50 farewell concerts here in London starting in early July, a sort of "comeback" tour for the King of Pop.
Michael Jackson always seemed to stir up a lot of mixed emotions in people, but for my generation, who grew up with Michael's visage constantly on MTV, he was an icon.
When the Thriller album came out in 1982, and the subsequent groundbreaking music video...well, everybody was talking about it and emulating it. Remember the robot and the moonwalk??
It was the kind of phenomenon we see today with Twitter.
So it was probably apt and in accordance with Jackson's fame that Twitter servers (and the Web in general) redlined overnight.
The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that the volume of Jackson-related messages was up to 5,000 per minute at peak, with Twitter seeing an "instant doubling of Tweets per second the moment the story broke."
The story goes on to say other social hubs, including AOL Instant Messenger, blog hosting site LiveJournal, and Facebook all saw some major performance slowdowns with the emerging news of Jackson's death.
AOL even released a statement that read: "Today was a seminal moment in Internet history. We've never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth."
That may be, but let's not forget the real story: The premature passing of a musical icon who, in spite of a troubled upbringing and early fame that stole a childhood, brought joy to millions around the world and helped shape a generation.
May Michael Jackson finally rest in peace.
Technorati Tags: fame, michael jackson, thriller, twitter
I almost made my way out to Wimbledon yesterday morning...by accident.
I was heading out to West London on the Underground to meet up with a colleague before heading on to IBM's Bedfont Lakes location for an all-day workshop.
And, well, let's just say I briefly got navigationally challenged for a moment there. But, I regrouped (and asked for directions...imagine that) and found my way to my car ride out to Bedfont.
(BTW, thanks very much again to the UK team for their gracious hospitality and great enthusiasm and interest in all things digital marketing. You all are welcome to come visit me in Texas anytime!)
Me, I've never actually been to Wimbledon, but I have watched it on the telly.
However, were I to go this year, I'd probably check out the really cool Google Android "G-Phone" application that uses geolocation tagging and GPS to get the informational lowdown as you walk around the grounds of Wimbledon.
Watch the video, as the application really defies description and it's much better to see it in action.
And of course, as always, you can check out the IBM-built Wimbledon Web site to keep track of all the action on (and off) the courts.
Good luck to Scotland tennis phenom Andy Murray, one of the few top-seeded British players left in the tournament.
And finally, back to my previous post about smarter cities, I must say, never having spent several days in a row in London, how impressed I am with the London Underground.
Having lived in NYC for several years, and having experienced subways and metros in numerous cities around the globe, I'm finding my way around the City of London quite nicely via the Tube (near-Wimbledon detour aside), thank you very much.
I think it may be at the top of the subway list (but I'll reserve judgment until I've experienced a few more subway lines).
Off to more meetings!
"When you look at a city, it's like reading the hopes, aspirations and pride of everyone who built it." -- Architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen
I've had the good fortune to visit a garden variety of great cities around this globe during my employ at IBM, and in fact I write this particular post firmly ensconced down the street from the British Library in London on a beautiful early summer morning.
During my travels, I get to see, and experience, the best and the worst of the world's cities, in terms of infrastructure, transport, and the like.
I've sat in some heavy-duty traffic in places ranging from Paris, Seoul, and Dublin, as well as Los Angeles, Houston, and my own Austin.
I've ridden some of the great trains of the world, particularly in Europe (and was shocked and saddened to hear of last night's tragedy on the Washington, D.C. Metro.)
For the first time in history, 2007 saw the majority of the world's population living in cities -- some 3.3 billion people.
By 2050, city dwellers are expected to make up 70 percent of the Earth's total population: 6.4 billion.
Cities are small (and sometimes not-so-small) microcosms of the major challenges and opportunities facing our planet, only intensified and accelerated.
It is in the city where all man-made systems come together and interact with one another: government services, transportation, public safety, healthcare, education, and energy and utilities.
If we can collectively increase the efficiency and sustainability of all those systems, we have the opportunity to create the most livable environment for the greatest number of people.
With that as backdrop, today and tomorrow, in Berlin, Germany, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano and 250+ senior public leaders and select influencers from around the globe will be gathering to explore and discuss ways to rethink current approaches to urban issues.
In Berlin, IBM is also inaugurating the Smarter Cities program, intended to help city leaders around the world build smarter infrastructures.
This will include examining how cities are already using smart solutions to improve city life, with behind-the-scenes accounts of such solutions from the city leaders themselves.
Keep an eye on the Smarter Planet site to follow the dialogue, to learn more about this program, and to find out how you can get involved in making your little corner of world a better and smarter place.
Now if you'll excuse me, here in London I have a train to catch.
Technorati Tags: london, smarter cities, smarter planet, sustainability, transportation
The last time I was in London, it was the weekend that all heck broke loose on the financial front, Sept 12-14, 2008, one in which I felt like the roulette wheel in life's casino.
I'll never forget sitting in the Admiral's Club at the Austin Bergstrom airport, trying to get some work done when I couldn't but overhear the guy next to me leaving a long-winded voicemail for his client, trying to reassure said client that he fully expected his company to be a viable and going concern the following Monday, and that his money was fine.
I'll give you one guess about the company.
Yes, it was Lehman Brothers.
That Monday, I wrote this post joking that perhaps my money would be safer in an anonymous Swiss bank account or on the "Come" line of a Las Vegas craps table.
As it turns out, option E might have served me best (sitting in a non-interest bearing PayPal account...at least then it wouldn't have had the chance to go south).
Of course, all these financial shenanigans pale by comparison to what Winston Churchill had to contend with as World War II began to emerge in 1939-1940.
I had the occasion when I landed here over the weekend to visit the Cabinet War Rooms on Whitehall, where Churchill spent much of his time during the London Blitz and where he and his team managed the war effort.
If you've visited there, you know there's one small, near-hidden room which Churchill used to make private and direct trans-Atlantic calls to President Roosevelt to discuss the progress of the war.
By today's communications standards, a single telephone link between two continents seems mundane, but that connection helped two Allies maintain an open line of communication during a very critical time.
Much as Twitter, Facebook, TOR, and other online communications capabilities have facilitated the global dialogue between the world and the people of Iran during this past week of turmoil in Iran.
No matter your position on the outcome of the election there, it's become self-evident over the last couple of weeks that try though one might to put the genie back in the bottle, the world has reached a new echelon of transparent communications.
We're now in a world where, facilitated by mobile Internet technologies, it's impossible to entirely contain the individual cells of a governing organism, and that those technologies can make vital the opportunity for those cells to restructure and reorganize in a manner that helps raise their common interests to the fore.
Regardless of the outcome in Iran this go round, I suspect this opportunity by the people to revisit and question the incumbency will create a viable precedent, the impact of which will only be heightened by future digital communications technologies.
As Churchill himself once said, a fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
And in Iran, the current subject seems to be the subject of change.
As to me, while in London I'll be keeping my eye on the stock market (and the final round of the U.S. Open, and the opening days of Wimbledon), and on Twitter...but I will stay far, far away from the casinos.
Technorati Tags: digital revolution, iran, lehman brothers, smarter planet
Quick blog update before I jet from one meeting to another here in NYC...
First, a big thanks to all who participated in the most excellent second IBM Social Media Summit yesterday up in Yorktown, including the 200+ of you who tuned in online and via videoconference.
To partners, customers, speakers, and IBMers alike, I hope you all got as much out of it as I did...I just wish I had a LOT more time to catch up with so many familiar (and new) faces. We must get together again soon!
Second, rain has delayed the kickoff of the U.S. Open golf tournament out at Bethpage Black.
Our own Adam Christensen is on the ground and getting soaked, but neither rain nor sleet or reTweets will keep him from his rounds...remembering he was possibly the first U.S. Open Twitterer in history.
See how you can follow all the action via the mobile U.S. Open here.
And lastly, check out this news that IBM will be investing $100 million U.S. over the next five years into a major research effort which aims to advance mobile services and capabilities for businesses and consumers worldwide.
This effort will help the 83 percent of the world that does not have easy access to the Web via PCs to get access to all this great information emerging from our smarter planet.
For now, I'll be using my own mobile device (my beloved Blackberry Bold) to find my way across town to the new Ogilvy offices at the former candy factory (make mine licorice, please).
Technorati Tags: mobile computing, pga, social media, us open
I arrived safely in NYC and marveled when I arrived and saw the new pedestrian mall in Times Square.
As an ex-New Yorker, I would have never thought the city would park a bunch of valuable traffic street space for pedestrians, but if last night was any indication, the new public space is a perfect fit for Times Square.
I'm sure the cab drivers think otherwise.
I'm on my way to some early breakfast meetings, but would be remiss if I didn't point you to today's IBM cloud computing announcement.
Be sure to watch the video about Seamus McManus, the father of information technology, and ergo, cloud computing.
(Nice threads there, Seamus. I'm totally hip to your communal computing culture.)
Also feel free to use this Google News query to keep an eye today on coverage and all things "ibm cloud."
Technorati Tags: cloud computing, ibm, seamus mcmanus
Happy Monday, everybody.
CNET picks up on the New York Post story about Microsoft's "new" search engine Bing sending Google co-founder Sergey Brin running back to the Google Labs to get back to work.
Bing's launch gained Microsoft a whopping 2 percentage points of search share week over week, according to ComScore stats, from 9.1 percent to 11.1 percent.
The last time I tried to use Bing was amidst all the buzz before it officially went live.
When I visited there this morning, I arrived at a page that had a picture of what looked like a vertical tram in Switzerland. Apparently the pictures swap out every day.
I entered the query "cloud computing," and after some paid ads and the Wikipedia entry, IBM's cloud computing lead page came up.
(In related news, the New York Times' Steve Lohr today has a feature on how IBM's helping customers fight cost and complexity via cloud computing).
In the left hand margin of the results page, I get a list of related searches relevant to "cloud computing," and just below that, my "Search History."
So far, Bing seems pretty "me, too," so not sure what (if true) it is that's turning Sergey's head. (But whatever it is, in my book, it's all good. Competition in any market is good -- for consumers and for market participants.)
I close out the browser session, then fire up another and start a new Bing search session, this time with "scuba diving" (I know I just got back from Grand Cayman, but a guy can dream...er, browse, can't he?)
Just as I suspected, I got a persistent cookie dropped that brought my previous searches along, without my ever having been asked to save them.
But, to Microsoft's credit, they make it very easy to "Turn off" the search history (a feature I prefer not to use...nothing good can ever come from all those stored search queries about boring technology stuff. Heaven forbid, someone might profile me and make me out to be a geek or something!)
The best part of the "scuba diving" returned queries are the "Related searches" that appeared: "Scuba diving lessons," "Scuba diving equipment," etc...That could be very helpful.
Perhaps this is what has Sergey back in the hunt, the propensity for Bing to actually start to try and map intent in the user query (i.e., if they're looking for this term, what must they really be looking for).
I don't know if I'll be one of the two percent market share increase anytime soon, as old habits are hard to break, but I'll definitely be trying to keep an open mind about Bing and other upstart search engines.
Life's too short to only Google.
Technorati Tags: bing, google, search engines, sergey brin
This weekend, I woke up Saturday morning to find out what had happened with the Iranian presidential election.
I figured with the voting over and having had plenty of time to count the vote, the results would be in and the anchors and talking heads would have started to recap the outcome.
So I did the same thing this AM, turning on CNN bright and early and, after hearing about the protests of the election results via Twitter and some independent Web sites, hoping to see some live coverage.
What can I say, old habits are hard to break.
As much of an Internet denizen as I fancy myself, I remember watching coverage of Tiananmen Square and the first Gulf War live on CNN.
CNN reporters risked their lives to get those stories out live and in real-time, and over the years the CNN brand really came to mean something, to me personally and to the greater world.
It was an entity we could depend on to provide breaking information from breaking stories, the consequences (mostly) be damned.
But when I turned on the TV this weekend, it was a major #cnnFail.
Mind you, I came to this conclusion before I started to see all the stories coming out online suggesting as much.
First, there was hardly a mention of the Iranian election, and there certainly wasn't the kind of on-the-ground-live coverage I would have expected on such an important story.
And I must say, citizen journalism has come to life for me in a way that it never has before, not because of selectivity but rather by necessity.
I'd been following the Iranian election with some interest, particularly since reform candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi seemed to be gaining in the polls these past couple of weeks.
Perhaps this could lead to a new day in Iran, I thought, so my interest piqued and I started trying to follow the story even more closely, especially leading into to Friday's election.
Considering the importance our U.S. elected officials, both Democratic and Republican alike, have put on the evolution of Iran's nuclear status, it seemed logical that I could expect the story to be followed closely by the U.S. broadcast media.
But it just didn't happen.
Instead, most of the information I've been able to gather has been via roundups and relays from citizen journalists and the likes of reader-funded reporters such as Michael J. Totten, or coverage/commentary from less mainstream writers like Andrew Sullivan (of The Atlantic).
And, of course, photos via Twitpic and Picasa and video via YouTube and, most notably, via Twitter (including the Mousavi1388 Twitter feed which informed us that "ALL internet & mobile networks are cut.")
I have to wonder if the use of the #iranelection hash tag will be looked back upon this weekend as a tipping point, one when the citizen-driven social media turned a corner and itself became the mainstream, looking to the global crowd for the story, not because of any ill-will towards the broadcast networks, but because nature abhors a vacuum, particularly during a seeming revolt, and that the void had to be filled somehow.
Moving forward, I won't give up on CNN, as I believe the major media can still play a critical role, particularly in a democracy such as ours.
But you can rest assured it will no longer be the first place I turn for breaking news.
Not anymore, not after this.
Technorati Tags: citizen journalism, iranian election, social media
Having come back from a few days out of the office I missed some of the key tech headlines.
Never seems to fail. I used to try to keep up on vacation, but as so many of you readers reminded me, why take off if you're not going to at least make an effort to leave it all behind.
So what I missed in my mental absence was the discussion around Facebook Usernames, and the coming Oklahoma land rush for folks to gobble up their vanity Facebook URL.
First off, I've already got an identity on Facebook. It's called "Todd Watson."
There's 161 of us, and in spite of not having had a vanity Facebook URL up until now, everybody has found me just fine.
In fact, people whom I had hoped to have never heard from again have found me.
Now Facebook wants me to reserve a vanity URL so even more people from my past with whom I now have no common cause can track me down and remind me what a doofus I was in fourth grade?
But it gets better.
The new Facebook vanity URLs will be available starting at 12:01 A.M. Eastern time on Saturday, June 13th.
What is this, Ticketmaster in 1984 and I'm waiting for Van Halen tickets to go on sale so I have to show up and wait in line all night just to get a lottery number to wait and see if I actually get my tickets??
Hmm, let's see...my plans for this Friday night...yeah, finish work...head to the local brew pub and have a few pints of Guinness....come home and catch "Real Time With Bill Maher"....and, oh yeah, hang out until 11 PM CST so I can claim my Facebook vanity URL!
That is some serious living on the edge.
Count me ancient, but I kind of liked the randomly assigned number that has been my primary identifier on Facebook to date.
It's the closest thing to a prison ID as I'm ever to likely come.
Maybe I should get a picture of me in a zebra jumpsuit with my Facebook number firmly emblazoned across the name plate: "Facebook Correctional Facility"
Twenty years hard time for impersonating an IBM digital marketing dude.
Oh, for the record, my Facebook ID number is 665301006.
Try remembering that one next time you're in line at the deli or Baskin Robbins.
I don't know if there's any significance to the number.
I'm not sure if I'll ever actually be able to remember it.
But the fact of the matter is, it's mine and I don't have to compete with anybody else for it, including the other 160 Todd Watsons on Facebook.
The fact that neither you nor I can ever remember such a number simply continues to foster the notion, at least for me, that I can retain some semblance of random anonymity in this overly-connected world.
So, if, in the future, anybody asks me whether or not I'm on Facebook, I'm going to explain politely that yes, in fact, I am.
But that if you wish to be my friend, know that there are 160 other Todd Watsons on Facebook and growing, and to please...take a number.
Technorati Tags: facebook, identity management, turbotodd
Earlier today IBM announced a new social networking community intended to help IBM partners to more easily connect and collaborate with one another from anywhere around the globe.
This new community enables companies to gain real-time access to IBM subject matter experts to support sales leads and client implementations, and allows partners to create personalized profiling tools to develop their own online communities that can make their skills visible to other partners.
To get to this point, IBM held an online idea exchange with 1,100 global partners to brainstorm new ways to grow profitability and to develop skills, and one of the leading ideas from the session called for a Web 2.0 approach to help IBM's partners improve collaboration with each other and to establish new relationships across global markets.
IDC has observed that a typical client implementation usually involves more than one IT vendor to develop and implement an IT solution, and in fact, 40 percent of partners who team with each other and build strategic relationships see greater than a 21 percent increase in sales.
So, the new IBM PartnerWorld Communities site will bring together more than 100,000 partners worldwide on emerging business opportunities, such as cloud computing, analytics, green IT, and even economic stimulus projects.
The Communities site is...surprise surprise...built using IBM Lotus Connections social software, which enables members to collaborate through a secure network that connects individuals around a focused task or goal using blogs, forums, private team spaces, social bookmarking and RSS feeds, and other key social software capabilities.
FYI, this is the same technology we IBMers use inside (as well as outside) the Big Blue firewall to collaborate and share information and collaborate with one another and key constituents.
Technorati Tags: collaboration, lotus, online communities, partnerworld, lotus connections, social software