Googlenet Redux

More concrete evidence that something is afoot with Google – or evidence that any good rumor only needs to be 10% factual to have legs.

An earlier post referenced the rumor that Google was potentially entering the wireless market. The original story on Business 2.0 speculated that if Google could track the geographical location of a wireless user, they could target advertising more precisely.

Whether that’s true or not is still a matter of speculation. What is true is that this rumor has legs. Seven days after the fact the IT related web news sources are still reporting on it. What probably produced the original rumor is this page on Google’s web site. It is instructions to users in a test market in San Francisco. Is this intended for a broader audience? I don’t know – but it is fun (evidently) to speculate.

GoogleNet

Speculation regarding Google’s intentions in the wireless service provider arena.

An interesting article from Business 2.0 where they are speculating that Google is bent on providing wireless access for free to the masses. It’s an interesting article on a variety of levels:

  1. What if it’s true? Wouldn’t it be great if you could be wirelessly connected everywhere you went?
  2. That people are speculating about this stuff can’t be a good thing for internet service providers. Imagine a world in which your primary source of income is removed. Speculating about it is painful much less seeing the reality. Most of us are not faced with the hard reality that the world is changing so fast that entire markets can be created and eliminated inside of a three year period of time.
  3. What fun it must be to be Google. They are in the position now of being able to generate earth shaking rumors with trivial efforts. The ability of Google to generate buzz is pretty much unmatched.
  4. How anxious are you to have Google track your every movement across the globe? Big Brother where are you?

Outsourcing

Is outsourcing good for the outsourced? It (of course) depends.

I recently read Advice Line by Bob Lewis in which he provided some advice to the recently outsourced. It led me review my own experiences in that arena. I have never personally been outsourced – but I’ve lived through two separate efforts.

Although more then a decade separated both outsourcing initiatives, the experience was eerily similar. I’ve grown older, more introspective and don’t take things as personally as I used to. The first outsourcing event occured at the request of the CEO. It was done without the involvement of the IT management organization and we were all very upset. I was not in management at the time but I felt those who were – were wronged. In hindsight it’s clear IT management was not inspiring confidence. That’s business and a lesson to all of us.

If you can’t lead your function and instill confidence in your executive team, all of your objections amount to little more then waiving your arms. The outsourcing firm (names removed to protect the innocent – or not so) arranged it so that revenue opportunities were promised if the function was outsourced. At the end of the ordeal (and yes it was an ordeal) only a portion of the function was outsourced. The outsourcing firm’s promises of revenue were only that.

Those of us in the IT function were full of righteous indignation. Ignorant executives had sold a core competence of the function and received little in return. Service levels were a challenge to maintain as those outsourced were either let go or transitioned in to other roles.

A second more recent outsourcing effort has been handled much better. It is the result of the IT function’s objectives. Service levels have been impacted but for the most part everyone has tried hard to make it work. Our company is a fairly cynical one in some regards so it’s not surprising that some stories about the outsourcing take on a life of their own as they are retold by business managers.

As dissimilar as the outsourcing efforts were, the common thread in both was that if you were someone who looks for challenges and could accept change then outsourcing was a profitable experience. If you needed to stay with your current experiences and skills and spent your time resenting the decisions of others then the experience was a painful one.

The parable of “Who Moved My Cheese” applies to all of us and is almost universally good advice. If you are the IT associate outsourced it is carries the most important advice.

You have been here

I don’t believe for a moment that 9 out of 10 readers haven’t had a similar thought…

A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?”

The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully-grazing flock and calmly answered, “Sure.”

The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his lap top and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an e-mail on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response.

Finally, he prints out a 150 page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized printer then turns to the Shepherd and says, “You have exactly 1,586 sheep.”

“That is correct; take one of the sheep,” says the shepherd, and watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.

Then the Shepherd says: “If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep?”

“OK, why not.” answered the young man.

“Clearly, you are a consultant.” says the shepherd.

“That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required,” answers the shepherd .”You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don’t know crap about my business.”

“Now give me back my dog.”

Identity

Securing one’s identity has become a critical need. Although written for a commercial audience, the referenced resources and the author’s web site references have relevance for individuals.

A recent article on O’Reilly by Phil Windley entitled Identity Management Architectures and Digital Identity provides a good overview of identity management.

The metaphor used by Mr. Windley is a familiar one to those of working in the information management industry. City planning as a model for governance topics has been used successfully in other information management arenas. Here it is referenced as a starting point for managing corporate and personal identities. The author has provided a link to his personal web site where tempate information is provided.

More interesting to me personally are the resources referenced in the article. As a recent victim of identity theft, I value the idea of protecting my personal identify. The Identity Commons, the commercial 2idi initiative have personal relevance.