Saturday, November 15, 2008

Attending BarCampSydney4 today

Today I'm very excited to be attending my first BarCamp  I'm not quite sure what to expect, but I see there's 160 people registered for the event in Sydney so I'm looking forward to it.

I've put together a few points I'll be discussing at the event, embedded as Google Docs Presentation here:

Update: 27th November 2008.
Reflections on BarCamp Sydney 4

Its been a couple of weeks now since I attended BarCamp in Sydney.  Well it was a fantastic day, for so many reasons.  Firstly, as Steve Herzberg highlighted at his fantastic presentation over at Craig Bailey's SBTUG last night, you get out of your comfort zone at a conference like BarCamp (or "unconference" as I have learnt it is actually called - because everyone contributes not just a selected group of speakers - fantastic idea!)

Anyway, Steve Herzberg put up a slide last night which articulates how I feel about BarCamp:
“The only way a human being can grow is to work outside their comfort zone” - said by Percy Cerrutty

Well, with BarCamp you certainly are out of your comfort zone:
- you wont know many people
- you are expected to present your own talk or at least contribute vocally
- there's a high proportion of people of above average intelligence in attendence, people such as software developers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists

However, if you get out of your comfort zone, get along to something like this, and participate, the rewards will flow:
- increase your knowledge
- meet new and interesting people
- increase your own personal brand
- generate news ideas which may turn into new businesses and opportunities for you

I look forward to the next BarCamp and I encourage anyone with an interest in technology and the Internet, to get along.   See for more information.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

You should be on Twitter - creating serendipities and building community

Twitter is an incredible tool for so many reasons, it's worthy of a separate blog post and discussion. If you don't know what Twitter is, watch the brief video below to get a good overview (the video only skims the surface of it though):

A couple of reasons I enjoy using Twitter is it creates serendipities and builds community. Only today, we were celebrating our school's 90-year anniversary. I noticed Malcolm Turnbull was in attendence so decided to send him a notice on Twitter (I am wondering if he is actually using it or employs a ghost writer. See for yourself by visiting his Twitter profile here.)

Here's where the serendipitous moment occurred. Later in the day I checked my email and noticed that one of my Facebook friends (a past-teacher from the school who has relocated overseas) had "commented on my status" I realised immediately, that although this person wasn't even on Twitter, that they had seen my status update which had automatically been sent to Facebook via the Twitter/Facebook application. This person was pleased to be reminded of the event I was attending and had said so in their comment. I was really chuffed by that moment, as it showed how something so simple as a Twitter update (sent from my phone with an investment of time of no more than a few moments) had put me back in touch with them, and caused them some happiness and fond memories.

Creating serendipities and building community - two good reasons you should be on Twitter.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Microsoft catching up to Google? Cloud + Client (Software and Services strategy)

I'm pretty excited to have the opportunity to see Steve Ballmer present live in Sydney next week.  I feel priviledge to have had exposure to and experience with so many technology companies and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer will no doubt thrill the audience - word is, he's a great presenter.  Of course I am a passionate user and supporter of Microsoft's platforms and technology - from the business user's point I have grown up on Office and Windows so feel comfortable using these tools.  I am not a developer but do enjoy working with and listening to their views - and Microsoft probably more than most companies, supports their developer community and in return has amassed an army of "evangelists" who support their initiatives.  Let's face it, as blogger Craig Bailey puts it, there is the need to clarify "...the exciting, overwhelming, and sometimes bewildering array of Microsoft products"

On an amusing note, I thought I would remind readers of some of the famous moments Steve Ballmer has been captured on video - these videos have certainly done the rounds, but here are a couple for your enjoyment:

Steve Ballmer: "Developers, Developers..."  

Steve Ballmer "..I love this company"

On a more serious note, I am particulalry interested to see Microsoft's views on so-called Cloud Computing, which as Wikipedia goes on to explain is simply "..the reliance on the Internet to solve the computing needs of users"  Microsoft was famously late in strategically embracing the Internet, dismissing the web browser's importance before being brought to trial over its anti-competitive behaviour.  This has all been very well documented - one suggested starting point is Wikipedia to see some of this

As the Internet continues to grow its popularity and usage, and bandwidth increases, Microsoft is reinventing itself and positioning itself as a player in the space arguably dominated by Google.  I believe Google is one of Microsoft's major threats - Microsoft even alluded to this in their latest annual report, as reported by Brier Dudley in the Seattle Times

It's easy to be cynical about Microsoft, as in my opinion they are as much a marketing company as a software company - but regardless of what your opinion is, next week's Steve Ballmer and team presentation will be highly engaging, entertaining and thought provoking.