Some Companies Can’t Innovate

I was just reading about a conference put on by a middle-school in the Bronx called Dot-To-Dot. The main conference topic was exploring freedom but what really caught my attention was the technology platform they used to organize and host all aspects of the conference. Since 2007 this public middle school, IS 339, has been using Google Apps to engage students in new and innovative ways like student run businesses and student projects. Even grading and progress is managed collaboratively with students using Google forms and spreadsheets. What strikes me is how does a public middle school adopt and innovate with a technology like Google Apps when so many companies and government organizations (run by adults) are seemingly unable to do the same? I’m wondering what are the major factors in corporations and governments that stand in the way of adopting a strategy around technology innovations like Google Apps. I’ve seen it over and over throughout my career…with minicomputers, personal computers, LANs, 4th Gen Languages, Web Sites, Intranets, content management systems, etc. These technologies have all been right there staring every company in the face..but most companies just can’t seem to see the new technology until years later after the technology has been adopted by others and has become “old hat.” Why does this happen? If I had to pick one barrier to adoption of new technology for innovation I would have to choose middle management. There always seems to be one or more middle managers, who know little to nothing about how technology is used and where it is going, but for some reason finds it necessary to stand squarely in the way of anything that he/she deems TOO new. I think the reason small startup companies are so innovative is because they aren’t big enough to have put any middle managers into place. Once they do the innovation slows down or even stops. If anybody else has a better idea I would sure like to hear it.

Cloud Sherpas

I just read about a startup company made-up of former Emory students called Cloud Sherpas. Their business is to assist companies in migrating to and maintaining Google Enterprise Apps. They also do Google App Engine development. This is a great service (and a great name) since most small companies don’t realize the value and reduced cost they could achieve by adopting Google Enterprise Applications for email, shared documents, collaboration websites (for employees, customers, and partners), groups, and chat (voice and text) just to name a few of the services available from Google at little or no cost to the business. I’m not sure why a small to mid-size business today would want to do anything else especially given the tight economic times we are in now. And I have to add that whoever thought up the name Cloud Sherpas is a genius.

Bing is a hit

I’ve been trying out Microsoft’s new quietly announced search engine, Bing, since it’s release yesterday. As an avid Google user I have to say I’m impressed. I’m getting very good search results that seem to return super fast. I’m really starting to like the maps feature especially. Oh and check out the extras drop down menu in the right hand side of the tool bar especially the webmaster and developer centers…really nice features. So far I’m very impressed with Bing (But It’s Not Google). I love the competition this will create which can only be a good thing for the search industry. Way to go Microsoft! 

Southern Fried Roadshow

Today I attended the June 2009 Southern Fried Roadshow at Microsoft Southeast Division Offices in Alpharetta, GA. This 1/2 day event (1-5pm) covered highlights from MIX, Windows 7, Internet Explorer 8, Silverlight 3 and Windows Azure. I really wanted to see the Azure material but alas I couldn’t make it through the prelims. Like most good productions they saved the sexy information (Azure) until the last part of the day. I was sitting there listening to a presentation on programming power settings in Windows 7…and decided to call it a day. I felt a little guilty getting up to leave early but when I turned around the guy sitting behind me was sound asleep 🙂 Sure wish I could have heard the 411 on Azure…oh well. One day I’m sure Microsoft will catch up with Starbucks, Curry Honda customer service waiting room, and the store where I always buy tires (Midtown Tire on Ponce)…and provide WiFi to visitors!!!!!  With a little WiFi I would have easily waited until the Azure presentation started…but sitting there without access to the Internet is truely unbearable…sorry I’m just being honest.