Finding Your Why

I was recently part of a strategic planning group for a community organization where I serve on the Executive Committee.  Before we starting formulating our mission, the facilitator showed us a video to set the context for the work that would follow.  The video was a TED Talk from a man named Simon Sinek speaking about a concept called “The Golden Circle.”   Having been through a few strategic planning sessions as well as being the author of a few academic and professional publications on the issue of strategy, I have to admit that I found his last name to be ironic because it perfectly expressed my attitude at the time.  Yes, I was being a cynic.

“Not another silver-bullet model to fix all your strategic woes,” I said to myself immediately after seeing the title of the talk on YouTube.  However, what transpired during that 15 minute video challenged me to rethink a lot of things.  Check out the video below:

This talk really resonated with me in a powerful way.  I found that you could not only apply this concept to strategy, but also to other areas of business as well as to other areas of your life.  Really, think about it.  The questions can range from the professional  (Why are you in the career you are in? /Why do you work for your employer?) to the personal (Why do you live where you do?/Why do you get up in the morning?/Why are you who you are?).

Personally, I believe that if we applied this concept to ourselves, if we found our own”why”,  it could lead to the development of personal mission statements.  These mission statements, grounded in what we believe, could then inspire and guide all that we do in our professional and personal lives.  Certainly I am not saying that doing this will guarantee that you will be successful in your life and career.  In fact, it just might scare the hell out of you.  However, wouldn’t it be nice to know what you are doing is consistent with what you believe?

So, I ask you…what’s your why?


Top Reasons To Attend ITPalooza

Hello Everyone!

I’m writing today to tell you all about a great event that we are hosting here at the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences called ITPalooza.  This is the second iteration of the annual technology education/holiday party fusion event and it promises to eclipse last year in all respects!

If you aren’t familiar with the event, you might be saying to yourself, “That’s great and all, but I wasn’t there last year so I can’t put any value in the fact that it will be better than last year.  What if last year’s event was attended by four people and had three slices of cold pizza for refreshments?”  Well, folks, I am writing this post to dispel that notion by giving you a glimpse of the awesomeness that was last year’s event and the top reasons to attend this year!

First a little history…..The event started as an crazy idea at a tech leaders dinner where someone said (and I paraphrase with much poetic license), “Wouldn’t it be cool to have an event where  all of the various tech groups would come together and have their annual holiday parties at the same place? ”  Well, Alex Funkhouser and Lenny Chesal then took this idea and (with the tireless efforts of a band of merry volunteers, the staff of Nova Southeastern University’s Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences, a bevy of talented local musicians, and countless others) pulled off the seemingly impossible task of making ITPalooza a reality in just a few months!

While the inaugural IT Palooza was unprecedented in the South Florida technology community, it was also an unprecedented success!  We had around 1,000 attendees, raised over $30,000 for local charities, and everyone had a great time!

So, how do we top that?  Easy!  We make it BIGGER and BETTER!  So, without further ado…Here are my top reasons for attending ITPalooza!

  1. You get to make a difference in your community.  What other tech event can you attend that puts a smile on a little girl’s face like this!
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    Not to mention all of the smiles that you will help to put on kids faces this holiday season because of ITPalooza’s support for Toys For Tots!
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  2. With over 1,500 of South Florida’s most influential IT Professionals in attendance, there are bound to be a few networking opportunities.
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  3. The ITPalooza Band Rocks!!

  4. The chance to learn for FREE from the top IT Pros in South Florida!
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  5. In addition to being a great networking and education opportunity, ITPalooza also offers a job fair featuring some of South Florida’s best employers!

Well, that’s my top reasons for you to attend ITPalooza this year.  I certainly hope to see you at the event at Nova Southeastern University on 12/12/13!

BlackBerry Live/Jam 2013

I’m at the BlackBerry Live Americas conference in Orlando. Why? Well primarily because of two reasons: 1) the dean asked me if I wanted to attend and is supporting my travel and 2) because I want to see how the company was going to try to regain some of its former glory.

Some answers were provided in this morning’s general session. Blackberry CEO, Thorsten Heins, started his keynote by stating that the turnaround had begun. He noted the accomplishments of getting Blackberry OS 10, the increase of the number of apps on Blackberry World, and putting together a global executive management team. What he didn’t say were, well….numbers. What is the market share? How many of the apps of the 120k they are reporting are just straight ports from Android? Those types of things were missing….and noticeably so.

What was apparent is their view of mobility. It seems that they are viewing a “mobile device” as just about anything. This is evidenced by their integration into cars. They brought out a Bentley that was totally tricked out and built on BlackBerry 10.

Another thing that stood out to me was their view of the mobile experience. The CEO stated that the mobile experience should be different from the desktop experience. This seems to be a very different position than the ones taken by Microsoft and Apple. For example, there is little difference in the user experience between different Windows 8 devices. It will be interesting to see if users will prefer a totally different experience over a similar one.

They also announced that they were extending Blackberry server to support iOS and Android devices, and opening up BBM globally. Both of these are good moves in my opinion, especially in the case of the blackberry server product as organizations struggle to deal with BYOD environments.

I’m currently sitting in the Blackberry Jam session now and they are bringing in people from SAP and Moog to tout their big corporate developer partnerships. It’s interesting to see how they are attempting to engage the developer community.

They are talking now about how their Android runtime can be used to port apps to the BB 10 platform by bringing out an executive from Songza. They used the runtime to bring their app over to Blackberry and are now developing a native app. The question in my mind is this: given the scant market share that Blackberry has, how many companies will follow Songza’s example and continue to develop a native version of the app? To me, if the market share isn’t there to justify the development of a native app, then why do it? The end result of this is a Blackberry World full of substandard apps that will translate into even less market share.

I’ll try to write more as the week progresses.


Why I am a Cubs Fan

I haven’t posted in quite a while for numerous reasons, but primarily because I have been swamped with getting a journal article out and reading my doctoral student’s dissertations in their various states of completeness.

So, since I kinda need a break and because another baseball season is almost upon us, I thought that I might write about something non-technology related and discuss my reasons for being a fan of the oft-hapless Chicago Cubs.

My love for the Cubbies began when I was about 8 or 9 years old…or about the time my family got cable television.  You see, as a young boy growing up in central Florida, we did not have any local major league teams.   The Rays and the Marlins were not yet in existence, so my only access to watch baseball before we got cable was to catch the game of the week that the major networks carried on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.  The only problem with that was that I was busy outside playing with my friends at that time, so I couldn’t catch it.  After cable though we were able to catch two teams at many times during the week.  The Braves on TBS and the Cubs on WGN.  Since I never really liked the powder blue uniforms the braves wore back then and since I didn’t really like the announcers for the Braves, I found myself watching WGN and a Cubs fan was born.

Through the years though, I began to find myself learning more about the Cubs and their history.  The curse of the goat, the homer in the Gloamin’, the Sandberg game, and the cast of characters that made up my favorite team (Harry included).  Sure, they were horrible most of the time, but they had character and they stuck together.  Not to mention, they were loved by the fans at Wrigley whom always seemed to pack the stands regardless of the time of day the game or how bad the record.  I thought to myself, this is what loyalty is.  How could you not want to be a part of that?

It’s more than loyalty though.  For Cubs fans are the hopelessly eternal optimists of the world.  I am sure that most of you baseball fans know that it has been quite a while since the Cubs won a world series (this season will be 105 years).  Yet, every year Cub fans greet baseball season with the feeling that, if the stars are aligned just right and we can catch a few breaks here and there, something magical might happen.

I guess that’s the real reason that I am a Cubs fan.  Let’s face it.  We live in a pretty cold world where people just don’t believe in anything magical anymore.  They love to tell you all the reasons you can’t or shouldn’t do something before you even try and their afraid to take a chance on something because it might not work out. I know it sounds stupid, but every year the Cubs give me a reason to keep hoping for the best.  They and their fans start the season with a type of optimism that (in my opinion) you just don’t find anymore. That magic does exist, fairy tales do come true, and that the impossible just might happen.  I often think of that commercial for the PS3 game that shows the Cubs winning it all.  That would be a glorious day indeed.   However, if something magical doesn’t happen this season, then there’s always the catch phrase of all Cubs fans…

Wait ’till next year. 🙂

HICCS – Session Spotlight

DISCLAIMER: I am live blogging this from the conference, so please forgive any typos. 🙂

Today at HICCS I am attending some sessions in the cloud service science and systems track. I am interested to see some of the research in this area considering I have done research in this area (mostly related to adoption of cloud computing and cloud curriculums) and also have doctoral students doing their dissertations in this area. I was also a reviewer for this particular track.

The first paper being presented is particularly interesting to me. It is on developers preference on platform as a service.

Presentation at HICCS

The researchers here did a literature review to create a working definition for PaaS and performed a study to discern what developers preferred in a PaaS platform. They started with discussions with focus groups and experts and used that to create an online survey. The results of the survey were then analyzed using conjoint analysis and exploratory factor analysis.

“Must have” features such as availibility and standardized API’s were identified and excluded from the analysis. The researchers then identified 10 different attributes that would be evaluated via the survey. They had a total of 103 respondents that all had PaaS experience.

The results showed that developers preferred offline SDKs to online development environments, they wanted knowledge sharing features to be built in to the community, there was a preference for a marketplace that handled payments, and they preferred pay per use pricing versus other pricing models. They were relatively split on migration between PaaS providers where about half wanted migration to be included as a service and about half preferred tools for migration.

I plan on going into the proceedings and reading the actual paper in more detail and may have more to say about this, but at this time I can see where most of these results are coming from. The only thing that is a bit weird to me is the migration issue.

If you are developing on a platform (ex. Azure), what is the chance that you are going to migrate to another platform? I can see where cost issues might influence the desire to migrate, but if you are developing for a platform, you are generally developing an application based on the characteristics of that particular platform. That being said, would it be smart to try to migrate your application to a different platform that may have other characteristics? I’m not quite sure.

Anyway, that is my in conference update for today. I will try to post another update on a paper I find interesting for each day of the conference.




Made it Maui, although my luggage didn’t.  I have been fully assimilated into the Hawaiian community and have changed my name to Kimo (the Hawaiian translation of James). I might not come back!