UnCovered

Revolutionary Cloud Adoption

Revolutionary Cloud Adoption

Some of the most famous names in the technology world gathered at the CloudBeat conference in Redwood City, CA on November 28th and 29th to discuss real cases of revolutionary cloud adoption. Some of the participants include Frank Edwards, Director of IT Strategy at PepsiCo, Scott Whyte, VP of IT Connectivity at Dignity Health and James Cuff, Director of Researching Computing & Chief Technology Architect at Harvard University. “The market is changing faster than we predicted. Technology is evolving,” argued Scott Whyte, describing their cloud adoption. Even in the field of healthcare, professionals are convinced that putting patients’ information in the cloud is the way to go. “We have to be careful, but move fast with going to the cloud solution. Given changes in healthcare, there are areas in which we have to move very quickly and we tend to look to the cloud,” stated Whyte explaining that although some oppose the idea of sharing patients’ information in the cloud, it is sometimes better than internal security.

One of the international participants was Benjamin Revcolevschi, the senior vice president of services and cloud at French telecom carrier SFR. He explained how the company has become a major competitor of Amazon’s own cloud services business. Revcolevschi founded “The Chocolate Factory” inside SFR. The team gathered around a round table because they wanted to break office rules. Because there was always chocolate and candy around the table, the team called it “The Chocolate Factory.” “I suggested to break office rules when moving into the cloud. Because ‘The Chocolate Factory’ was such an open and informal space, everyone from different departments could come and ask a question. Now we have less hierarchy and more openness,” Revcolevschi pointed out saying that this is a new way to deal with technology.

Another big topic at the conference was cloud security. Many are concerned that passwords are not sufficient for safety anymore and only biometrics can provide the much needed security. With the BYOD trend being on the rise, Rafal Los, Senior Security Strategist at Hewlett-Packard, Andrew Hay, Chief Security Evangelist at CloudPassage and Wolfgang Kandek, CTO at Qualys, argued that companies have to urge employees to follow security rules although these policies can be complicated. At the end, it was concluded that there is no perfect security because anything that is made by man can be broken by man. We as users have to learn how to be more threat-tolerant as we make trust decisions all the time. Los, Hay and Kandek stated that healthy paranoia can be a good thing. The conclusion was that even though cloud is not less safe than anything else, it has newer and better securities than previous, more traditional methods. Technology to secure data doesn’t exist yet, but there is plenty of competition in the market, which will ensure much better security methods in the future.

 

December 3rd, 2012
Discussion

Tags:

  • sciene
  • cloud
  • technology
  • security

Video Games for Girls

Video Games for Girls

Usually women are less interested in video games than men and when they are, they prefer less violent types of games. Many women think that playing video games is nothing more than waste of time that can be spent interacting with family and friends. A study shows that males report more frequent use in all competitive genres of games. This reinforces the stereotype that women are less likely to compete and engage in activities that involve technology.

But it is possible that the female lack of enthusiasm when it comes to video games is a result of the lack of characters and heroes that represent them. People usually empathise with heros whom they feel similar to. And because most heroes in video games are male, women might feel out of touch. 



The question is what happens when a little girl enjoys a game so much that she starts to identify the boy on the screen as herself? An article reports that a high tech entrepreneur dad of such a girl 
hacked the favorite game of his three-year-old daughter and changed its code, transforming the boy-hero to a girl for her. He says that he was inspired to do it when he started noticing his daughter putting herself in the role of the male hero. "I'm not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero," he comments pointing out that having a daughter of his own changes the way he looks at the whole world. 



This addresses the issue of the lack of strong female characters in video games. Hopefully in the future there will be more female game developers who will make the girls to be the heros.  

November 20th, 2012
Discussion

Tags:

  • video
  • strategy
  • gender
  • play
  • technogy

Yamming on Social Media

Yamming on Social Media

“Social Media is meant to give everyone a voice, something that is not available enough within companies...”


This was one of the more profound statements uttered by a panelist in a Yammer Breakout Session at the YamJam’12 Event. Although the CEO of Earth Hour Global’s statement was only a phrase within an attempt to drive home a larger point, it was the phrase that had writers scribbling and everyone else thinking. The power of social media is indeed profound. Its introduction revolutionized how people connect and engage with one another and made the world a smaller place.

However, social media is such a powerful and uncontrollable entity that it is important for everyone to consider its consequences within a company work environment. Would unmediated contributions, unpredictable recipes to fame, and arbitrary ranking systems really be appropriate for the workplace? Would it produce anything of actual value to the company? Would it breed the culture you want your company to have or foster a destructive attitude of incessant networking and social-climbing?

After carefully considering the opinions of various speakers at YamJam’12, we believe that if a company instilled its culture properly, social media can be a powerful tool that facilitates meaningful and collaborative conversations, produces well thought-out and passionate ideas, and can ingrain a company’s culture deeper into each employee than before possible.

“We don’t want to tell you what to do, but rather ask you what we should do.”

Teamwork and general collaboration is usually at an all-time high in a startup company. And if it’s truly a strong startup, the employees will be a tight-knit team whose level of smooth coordination and chemistry rivals that of championship-winning sports teams. However, this level of teamwork and collaboration is rare in large companies and businesses because there are simply too many people and too many branches, each pursuing their own agenda.

When employees feel closer to their branch than they do with the brand of the company, some level of disconnect is inevitable, especially if the branches are separated by large distances. Lack of daily communication beyond the weekly conference calls among top executives and branch managers can stifle an employee’s connection to other branches.

However, if social media can revolutionize how employees connect with each other as it did with the rest of the world, than it can lessen the feel of those distances. Greg Moran’s quote above illustrated Nationwide’s approach to social media, and how they used it to make their company feel like a smaller one.

By giving each employee a voice with which they can connect with other employees around the world, they can more easily build relationships and maintain them. By increasing transparency company-wide, employees can better relate to and understand what other employees and branches are doing and where their own actions fit within the larger process of the company. In essence, social networks give employees a platform on which they are able to express their ideas.

“People are most productive when they feel like they are making progress in meaningful work”

On the second day of the YamJam’12 Event, Daniel Pink, the author of Drive and A Whole New Mind, shed light on the truth about motivation and in turn, explained why a platform that gives every employee a voice will lead to meaningful conversations and valuable contributions to the company.

By referencing studies done by the Federal Reserve Bank and citing specific examples in companies such as Google, Wikipedia, and Atlassian, Pink debunks the myth that monetary rewards correlates to stronger performance. He then goes on to reveal that the keys to better work and higher levels of productivity lies in allowing your employees to exercise autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Employees work at their best when they are given the independence to pursue something they believe in because people find satisfaction in an ability to better themselves.

 

Within a social network, employees are able to employ autonomy through unmediated contributions and conversations. After work, a marketing coordinator can engage with an engineer from another branch to get expert advice or simple feedback on an idea that they had come up with on the drive home from work. That engineer now has a channel that funnels their sense of mastery, for they can offer their expertise to answer questions from co-workers, who work across the hall or across the country. In addition, the transparency of those conversations and contributions on a public platform will allow employees and managers to visualize where their work and their contributions fit within the context of a larger group effort.

In the end, social media is still a somewhat unpredictable and dangerous tool. But if a company can instill a culture where employees fully utilize its power and use it as a channel to funnel their great ideas and perspectives, then that company will have the advantage of having the resources of a large company with the functionality and mindset of a promising start-up.

November 19th, 2012
Discussion

Tags:

  • yamjam
  • yammer
  • socialmedia
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • autonomy
  • danpink

Connectivity, Design, and Consumer Experience Were the Main Topic of RoadMap

Connectivity, Design, and Consumer Experience Were the Main Topic of RoadMap

Business, technology, and social media sites founders gathered for the second annual RoadMap conference to exchange ideas and discuss the importance of connectivity and the future of the Internet. The creators spoke about their products and their vision of the future when it comes to technology. At the hearth of the discussion was the importance of simple and smart design. Many of the creators argued that intuitive user experience will be the main factor that will make connectivity more human.

Most of the startup founders argued that technology on its own is not going to make an impression on consumers if it comes short on design. “Now we are embracing our creativity more,” said Perry Chen, the CEO of Kickstarter.  He pointed out that creativity is fueled when it can be shared. “Designers are becoming more prominent figures to audiences now. Artists can communicate to users and whether a person is a filmmaker or a designer, the focus is on the community. Kickstarter is all about trust,” he said. Perry also stressed on the fact that he wants the company to stay small, but to do great things. “We would never want to sell this company,” he concluded.

Another interesting speech was that of John Maeda, the president of Rhode Island School of Design. He pointed out that designers give feelings and a good design doesn’t need technology, just ideas. Maeda described a period in his life when he was all about creativity. “I got lucky because I discovered this thing called design, which is all about ideas. I stopped using computers and this was the best time of my life, but then my typography teacher told me to do something ‘young’ with myself and I went back to computers,” he joked about his young years. Maeda also argued that creative people often aren’t comfortable being leaders, but design and technology have to go together with leadership. He concluded that making a difference means a lot to him.

All of the speakers at the conference had their own unique ideas and points of view. Among the most interesting were also Stefan Olander - VP of Nike - who demonstrated how gadgets attached to our bodies enable us to track our physical activities and plans, Katia Beauchamp - Co-founder of Birchbox -  who spoke about more personalized retail experience, and Ben Silbermann - Co-founder and CEO of Pinterest - who explained how Pinterest is different from other social media. “Facebook and Twitter are about what you are doing at the moment. Pinterest is about what you want to do in the future. It’s all about planning to visit that place, to cook that recipe,” he said.

It was a very interesting day with so many creative minds at the same place. The conference ended with the words of the founder and senior writer for GigaOm: “The Internet of tomorrow is about unique experiences.”

November 13th, 2012
Discussion

Tags:

  • innvation
  • science
  • technology

Do We Really Know?

Do We Really Know?

Creative ideas are almost never born out of knowledge. They are the product of our intuition and observation of the world. Of course knowledge is very important for every-day tasks, but the human mind has its intuitive way of solving problems that might seem unsolvable at first glance. While taking a test, for example, many people choose an answer based on their gut feelings if they lack the knowledge and many times this answer turns out to be the right one. Intuition, sixth sense, and gut feelings  are the most common expressions  to describe our decision-making process when we lack information.

As we live in the era of information overload, we are taught to make conscious, intelligent decisions. But interestingly enough, some of the most creative minds of all times have made life-changing discoveries based on their gut feelings. Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists to have ever lived, has said: “The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.”  And yet we always seem to be on the search for rational explanations.

One of the most successful entrepreneurs, Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of Virgin Group, claims that intuition seems to have worked well to his advantage. He managed to turn his weaknesses into strengths, describing that learning to trust his instincts is the major factor for his success. Although he struggled with dyslexia and dropped out of school, he didn’t lack imagination and courage. “I do a lot by gut feeling and a lot by personal experience,” Branson says. “I mean, if I relied on accountants to make decisions, I most certainly would have never gone into the airline business. I most certainly would not have gone into the space business, and I certainly wouldn’t have gone into most of the businesses that I’m in. So, in hindsight, it seems to have worked pretty well to my advantage.”

There are many others, well-known entrepreneurs, scientists, and philosophers who embrace the power of the sixth sense.  So why are we so reluctant to trust our own feelings if they are not based on scientific knowledge when scientists and entrepreneurs are embracing theirs?  May be next time we have an important decision to make or just want to come up with a creative idea, we will follow their steps.

Here are some quotes from some extraordinary minds:

“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.”
Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking

“Did they know why they knew? Not at all. But the Knew!”
Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking

“Intuition is the source of scientific knowledge” – Aristotle

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” –-Albert Einstein

“Don't try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.”
Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

November 13th, 2012
Discussion

Tags:

  • intuition
  • innovation
  • science