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Thu, 04 Mar 2004
I'm not going to BloggerCon
This is going to be my biggest 'Con' year yet. PyCon this month, OSCon in July, and (probably) ApacheCon in November (buy your tickets now). While I would love to go to BloggerCon, I just don't think that I can go this year. The big reason is that Julie is going, and someone needs to watch the kids. Lisa Williams listed a few woman bloggers that she'd love to get together with, and Julie made the list. This was after we (momentarily) toyed with the idea of both going, a cross country version of our trip to the Seattle Bloggers Meeting. So after some talking and thinking, (and a little encouragement from me), Julie will be making her way out to Cambridge to join Lisa's party.
[22:21] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Please spend 1/5 of your time on innovation
In his column on The Google way, Chad Dickerson points out something that came out at the same time as Orkut did. I'm talking about the Google requirement that their engineers spend 20% of their time on a personal technology project unrelated to their primary project. I think that this policy is incredibly forward looking. I also wonder how long it can last.

What will happen after the (postponed but inevitable) Google IPO? Will results oriented shareholders tolerate such a policy? Won't it be regarded as an excuse to slack? It's going to be interesting to watch. It used to be that some companies in the computer industry had very forward looking policies. Employee sabbaticals come to mind. Of course, those are also gone, because companies can't afford them, or because people came back from them and then quit. I wonder if those companies asked themselves whey all their people were quitting when they came back from their sabbaticals.

One benefit that I've obtained from working on open source is that it's been like working on my own personal technology projects. As I've gotten more deeply involved with various communities, it's been inevitable that I have branched out and started working on different stuff. The cross pollination of ideas and perspectives from multiple communities has been wonderful, and a little overwhelming, because there's almost too much input coming in. It seems to me that this is the effect that Google is trying to achieve with their policy.

Many of the advocates of offshoring are saying that innovation is the key to keeping some jobs here in America. If that's true, then figuring out better ways to foster innovation should be high on everyone's priority list.

[21:54] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
"Bigger isn't better" or "What you see isn't what you think it is"
I really enjoy Malcom Gladwell's writing, so I read his latest on S.U.V.'s with interest. Of course, I was properly horrified at the poor safety of S.U.V.'s and unhappy with the consumerism and corporate greed which has produced the flood of these vehicles. The test drive information was particularly sobering.

One of the reasons that S.U.V.'s have been successful is that people think they are safe. Gladwell interviewed an anthropologist whose job is understanding why people believe cars are safe. Rapaille lists the top feelings about safety:

... everything surrounding you should be round and soft, and should give...
...if I am bigger and taller I'm safer. You feel secure because you are higher and dominate and look down...
Unfortunately, it turns out that being big, full of "protection", and high off the ground are precisely the characteristics that make an S.U.V. less safe than a car. Worse, still, because people falsely believe that they are safer, they are emboldened to take risks that they would otherwise not take. This is not comforting since car safety is a matter of life and death. Gladwell goes on the ponder the state of the automobile industry:
But that's the puzzle of what has happened to the automobile world: feeling safe has become more important than actually being safe.

As usual, in America, perception is more important than reality.

[21:28] | [misc] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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