Saturday, May 30, 2009

As Social Technologies Become Pervasive, Prepare Your Company « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing

As Social Technologies Become Pervasive, Prepare Your Company « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing

When I started this job a year and a half ago, my coverage was simply over social networks and community platform vendors. On occasion I would speak to brand monitoring companies, and of course pure play social media sites (blogging software, microblogging, etc)

But now, I spend talking to companies from a variety of spaces as social technologies creep into their space. It’s increasingly difficult to monitor as it spreads, but expected as the era of social colonization takes hold. Social technologies become pervasive and spread throughout the entire company.

Vendors that are currently ramping into the social space:
  • CMS vendors are gearing up and offering social features, much to the chagrin of the community platform players.
  • Customer support departments are quickly moving outside their defined support domain to where customers are supporting each other.
  • CRM vendors are connecting to social networks, serving up social content in their dashboard. We’re discussing how far this will reach.
  • Web Analytics firms are starting to scan social sites and partner with others, they know influence has spread beyond server analytics alone.
  • Customer reference programs recognize that unfiltered customer opinions are happening beyond their control.
  • Agencies of all sorts.

Vendors that will become increasingly important in the social space:

  • Affiliate marketing will become an increasingly important as more brands start to act on word of mouth programs.
  • Email marketers are starting to recognize that the social network inbox is where eyeballs have shifted to. Given Google’s evolved email platform looks more like a social network or operating system than an email ‘inbox’.
  • Advertisers want to think beyond banner and IAB ads to more engaging or social ads.
  • Large consulting firms are preparing to offer million dollar packages to enterprises for change management and social integration systems.

Companies as a whole –beyond marketing– must prepare as social cascades the enterprise
Social technologies are creeping into nearly every aspect of business, making this incredibly difficult for brands to manage as so many systems –and therefore stakeholders– are looped in willing or not. Having spoken to some brands that are tackling this change, here’s some practical advice that I learned the top firms are doing:
  • 1) Recognize the trend that social technologies are crossing over to all aspects of the business: If you’re responsible for social media leadership in your company, recognize that this technology is pervasive beyond corp comm and marketing as we saw in the last few years.
  • 2) Yet, as things start to get complicated, simplify: Rather than focus on the all of the distinct arenas that social crosses, focus on the trend that customers and their opinions will be part of nearly every aspect of your business –even if you don’t choose for them to be present.
  • 3) Start the culture change now with internal education: The internal culture change is the biggest hurdle for companies. I spoke to a traditional media company yesterday that is quickly migrating away from print to online, and is conducting internal ’show and tell brown bag sessions’ across the enterprises where people can come from any department.
  • 4) Rather than build a strategy focused on technologies, build around customers and employees: Above all, don’t focus on the technologies themselves, start to train yourself to start and end a discussion with customers (and/or employees) rather than “Twitter”.
  • 5) Organize your company for social: There’s an innovation curve here that your company must jump, but to be successful, you’ll need to change not technology (only 20%) but culture, strategy, process, roles, and how you measure (the other 80%). I’ll be publishing a report in the near future (with data from a recent survey to brands) that discusses how companies are organizing for social technologies, and what some best practices are in the near future.

There’s a lot of social media strategists that are reading this blog, and vendors who support them, I’d love to hear from you the changes in the last 12 months we’ve seen, as well as some practical advice to brands to be prepared.

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The Top VC Blogs (According To Google Reader)

The Top VC Blogs (According To Google Reader)

Venture capitalists can be valuable sources of information about the tech community. Not only do they have quality insider information but they also have a knack for figuring out how to evaluate startups. So it makes sense that their blogs can be compelling reads.

Larry Chang, a partner at Fidelity Ventures, has compiled a list of the 100 top VC blogs, according to the number of Google Reader subscribers for each one. Chang admits that the rankings don’t necessarily equate to the best quality of content and that there is fine content coming from VC blogs with less subscribers. But the list is a good starting point. Chang says he will be highlighting the best VC blog posts from this list on his blog every two weeks and will update the directory to add new VC blogs quarterly.

Here are the top 20 on the list, with their Google Reader subscriber numbers (you can see all 100 on Chang’s blog):

1. Guy Kawasaki, Garage Technology Ventures, How To Change The World (17,555)
2. Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures, A VC (11,821)
3. David Hornik, August Capital, VentureBlog (7,060)
4. Brad Feld, Foundry Group, Feld Thoughts (6,434)
5. Marc Andreessen, TBD, (5,099)
6. Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital, Redeye VC (3,310)
7. Ed Sim, Dawntreader Ventures, Beyond VC (3,239)
8. Jeremy Liew, Lightspeed Ventures Partners, LSVP (2,973)
9. Bill Gurley, Benchmark Capital, Above The Crowd (2,257)
10. Jeff Nolan, SAP Ventures, Venture Chronicles (1,528)
11. David Cowan, Bessemer Venture Partners, Who Has Time For This? (1,261)
12. Christopher Allen, Alacrity Ventures, Life With Alacrity (1,194)
13. Seth Levine, Foundry Group, VC Adventure (1,154)
14. Rick Segal, JLA Ventures, The Post Money Value (795) – Canada
15. Jeff Bussgang, Flybridge Capital Partners, Seeing Both Sides (727)
16. Mike Hirshland, Polaris Venture Partners, VC Mike’s Blog (726)
17. Tim Oren, Pacifica Fund, Due Diligence (661)
18. Jeff Clavier, SoftTech VC, Software Only (656)
19. Mendelson/Feld, Foundry Group, Ask The VC (587)
20. Matt McCall, DFJ Portage Venture Partners, VC Confidential (432)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Third Frontier OKs $12.5M for Central Ohio organizations - Business First of Columbus:

Third Frontier OKs $12.5M for Central Ohio organizations - Business First of Columbus:

The Ohio Third Frontier program is planning to give technology-related research and development in Central Ohio a $12.5 million infusion.
The Ohio Department of Development said four Columbus-area entities are in line to receive funding as part of the state’s 10-year, $1.6 billion Third Frontier initiative to create high-tech jobs. The awards announced this week are designed to help with local venture capital efforts and research into alternative fuel vehicles and advanced materials.

Local funding recipients were:
• Columbus-based Ohio TechAngels will receive $1.6 million for its third venture capital fund.
TechColumbus, the Columbus region’s technology incubator and technology industry advocate, is in line for $900,000 for its venture capital Pre-Seed Fund II project.
Velocys Inc., a Plain City-based technology development company and spinoff of Columbus-based Battelle, will be given $4 million to apply microchannel processes to transportation fuel development.
Ohio State University in Columbus will be presented with two awards of $3 million each – one that will go towards research and development of hybrid-electric commercial vehicles, the other for commercialization of bio-based reinforcement materials in plastic composites.
The Central Ohio awards were part of a $36 million round of funding the Third Frontier program awarded across the state. Awards are contingent on state Controlling Board approval.

Google Wave: What Might Email Look Like If It Were Invented Today? - O'Reilly Radar

CAS Launches Free Web-Based Resource Common Chemistry for General Public

CAS Launches Free Web-Based Resource Common Chemistry for General Public

Links to Wikipedia records provided in collaboration with Wikipedia volunteers

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society and the most comprehensive
and authoritative source of chemical information, has launched a new, free, web-based resource called
Common ChemistryTM.

This resource is helpful to non-chemists and others who might know either a chemical name or a CAS Registry Number of a common everyday chemical and want to pair both pieces of information.

See Common Chemistry Page for CreatineCommon Chemistry contains approximately 7800 chemicals of widespread and general interest, as well as all 118 elements from the periodic table. With the exception of some of the elements, all other substances in this collection were deemed of widespread interest by having been cited 1000 or more times in the CAS databases. Examples of substances in Common Chemistry include widely recognizable ones such as caffeine, benzoyl peroxide (acne treatment), and sodium chloride (table salt).

"Anyone can easily search by CAS Registry Number or chemical name and confirm the substance details, such as the CAS Registry Number, chemical names or synonyms, molecular formula, chemical structure, and a reciprocal Wikipedia link when available," said Christine McCue, CAS Vice President, Marketing. "Visitors also have the ability to bookmark the page using social media tools, such as Delicious and Digg."

While not intended to be a comprehensive CAS Registry Number (CAS RN) lookup service, Common Chemistry does provide access to information on chemicals of general interest. The CAS Registry Number is recognized throughout the world as the most commonly used, unique identifier of chemical substances. The full CAS REGISTRYSM database contains more than 46 million organic and inorganic substances. Research discovery and patent tools such as SciFinder and STN allow users to search the entire database.

CAS thanks the Wikipedia volunteers, especially Professor Martin Walker at SUNY Potsdam, who collaborated with CAS to provide the links to Wikipedia records (when available). The Common Chemistry database will be updated periodically and Wikipedia links will be added when possible.

The Ohio State University CETI Industry Day - June 11th on Agile Practices in the Enterprise

The next CETI EA Forum and the CETI Industry Day, to be held at The Ohio State University on Thursday June 11th on Agile Practices in the Enterprise. This EA Forum will have a panel-based theme as follows:

As Information Technology organizations that support large enterprises are being asked to do more with less, Agile practices in areas ranging from application development, project management and enterprise architecture, have become increasingly relevant as a means of delivering business value cheaper, faster and with higher quality. In this panel, the panelists from Nationwide Insurance, Gap Inc., Pillar Technology, Thoughtworks and CETI will present unique experiences and research on a range of highly relevant Agile topics.

The forum will begin with a keynote from Roy Singham, Founder and Chairman of Thoughtworks Inc. I had the honor and privilege of meeting Roy on a visit to Thoughtworks earlier this year; his offer to keynote was one simply not to be refused!

Panelists will be:

  • Peter Dean, Gap Inc.
  • Matt Lewis, Gap Inc.
  • Tom Bihari, Nationwide Inc.
  • Jen Stille, Thoughtworks Inc.
  • Aman Kumar, CETI
The CETI EA Forum: The CETI EA Forum is a collaboration that seeks to share at a deep level learning and experiences about a wide range of key topics of critical importance to professionals in enterprise IT. For those who have not attended this forum in the past, see: for more details.

The forum is part of CETI's Industry Day, and will be held at OSU (building and room TBA). The Industry Day, which begins at 8:30 am and ends with at 3 pm, will showcase research and practice collaborations between CETI and local industry.

CETI: CETI is a federally-sponsored National Science Foundation (NSF) program research that aims to have a direct impact on the economic development of this region through highly relevant knowledge creation, and the development of a highly competent workforce. For more on CETI see:

Looking forward to seeing you all at this event!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Insurance Industry Explores Social Media, But Nothing To Write Home About (Blogs, Forums, Social Networks) « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing

Insurance Industry Explores Social Media, But Nothing To Write Home About (Blogs, Forums, Social Networks) « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing

I’m doing research for a client, to find out any examples of insurance companies using social media to connect with it’s customers. I’ve done some scanning over a 48 period of time, and asked my twitter (a social computer) followers, who gave a tremendous amount of helpful links. Since I’ve received many links from the community, I won’t hoard my findings, but share them in public. I’m thankful for those that help me, and I try to give back on this blog.

Overall, without surprise, this industry has not adopted these tools, as one would expect. Whether they should or not should start with by answering these questions:

  • Are their respective decision makers using social tools to find answers about products and services?
  • If so, which tools are they using, and how are they connecting?
  • Would insurance customers benefit from asking and answering questions directly to each other?
  • I did find a few examples, yet just small blossoms in the field, no clear wins that would make a case study of complete success or failure, among them include:

    Pick Your Advisor, India
    This website allows users to select a financial or insurance advisor using a friendly personable interactive selector. Each of the advisors has a picture asscoiate with them, and a psuedo blog. As I looked closer, most of the blog data was not being used, or was being used like a chat room.

    Allstate Community Forum
    It appears this forum (code suggests it’s powered by lithium software, see the whole list) which launched in late 07 is a great example of a company embracing it’s customers using community software. Sadly, there’s very few messages and discussions. The forum is segmented by role (singles, couples, parents) and you can start to see some Q&A occurring. In my recent report on Online Community Best Practices, I found that companies must have a kick start plan to get their communities going.

    esurance fan opportunity
    Esurance’s aggressive online advertising of it’s cartoon like superhero “Erin Esurance” is causing some fandom, and some are dressing up like her. Mack questions if esurance should embrace some of these fans, but I’m not so sure. Is the goal of the cartoon campaign to drive awareness, or involve in a discussion about insurance. Some have mixed reactions on interacting with fake personas, so perhaps a different strategy would be needed.

    Embrace Pet Insurance, Facebook
    For those of us who have pets, care can often be expensive for family members, as a result, embrace pet insurance launched this Facebook group. There are 83 members in the Facebook group, few discussions, a handful of wall posts and no applications.

    Various Blogs
    Perhaps the most interesting insurance related blog is Singapore’s Tan Kin Lian, a former CEO who is “I write this blog to educate the public about insurance, finance and current affairs in Singapore”. The archives go back to 2005, and there are a handful of comments on many of the recent posts. He posts frequently, and is using it in a Q&A type format. On the other hand, there are new blogs appearing, such as this one from Golden State Life Insurance (only 3 posts)

    Enterprise Collaboration
    In a recent Forrester report, Oliver Young’s case study highlights how Northwestern Mutual benefits from internal collaboration using the Awareness platform. I’m sure there are many other examples, but this industry is often not forth coming. Shel Holtz has additional commentary.

    Rehashing of Commercials on YouTube
    Liberty Mutual launched a TV commercial series called “Pay it forward” that was published on YouTube (it doesn’t appear to be sanctioned from the brand), with 150,000 views. They could easily take this campaign to the people by creating a campaign letting the community share their stories view text and video. Interestingly, a few folks decided to take the time to parody the video. Update: I’ve just been notified about the Responsibility Project by Liberty Mutual, a video campaign with a blog (comments enabled), I don’t see much community aspect.

    Active Forums
    Perhaps the most vibrant examples are these various forums. Insurance is likely not a daily activity, and members may prefer to ask questions anonymously to each other. In this forum for insurance agents, called Insurance Forums (top thread has over 60,000 views and 1000 responses regarding a convention). AM/PM insurance has a thriving community, appears to be a customer community. Kiplinger an financial analysis resource has a forum for general insurance discussions.

    Geico’s Caveman
    This isn’t a great example of social media, but Geico’s caveman has interactive marketing elements where you can visit his “crib”, also the character appeared in real life at a recent SXSW party I attended.

    Zuzzid, Norwhich Union’s Community Ratings
    To me, this is the perhaps the promising program, a website where community members can speak out about, rate, and rank insurance agencies. Sadly, this community has had little traction, just a few postings, and if you read the bottom line it’s created by an insurance agency, UK’s Norwich Union (which coincidently has the highest rating) for this to work, it’ll have to be from an independent source.

    Pemco wants to be like you
    Pemco, a Northwest insurance agency in US, launched am interactive marketing site called were a lot like you that shows many profiles of potential prospects, and allows members to upload theirs. While it appears most of the content is created by the agency or the company, there’s very little area for member to member interaction (what social media is about). A good start, I hope they take this to the next level, and let the community really take hold and drive, create, and discuss the content.

    AllState’s Community “Good Hands”
    I was told by AllState in May 2009, that this is a ‘lifestyle’ community: “Our objective is to provide useful content and a discussion platform to help consumers live responsibly by helping them protect what they have and prepare for their future. In doing so, we hope to strengthen the Allstate brand while supporting our commitment to have deeper, more meaningful relationships with our customers. The Good Hands (SM) Community is a non-marketing based environment intended to encourage dialogue so that we can better listen to the opinions and needs of consumers and continue to improve our products and services.

    There really isn’t much activity happening in the insurance industry to use social media, and where it may be successful, it could likely be behind the firewall, impervious to public viewing. Update: Jeff Jarvis is also on the hunt for industries that are somewhat impervious to social media, I’ll agree, social media isn’t great for everything, let’s use our heads, not everything is a nail..

    Lastly, I’ve received half a dozen emails and tweets in total saying they are working with a client on social media, but can’t disclose the details, or will ask the client, or the project has ended. A very quiet industry, indeed.

    In general, most financial and insurance industries are going to fall just behind the curve of mainstream adoption when it comes to social media tools, they rightfully will wait and vet out what works and what doesn’t.

    Resource Interactive : weThink » Social Media Tools to the Rescue

    Resource Interactive : weThink » Social Media Tools to the Rescue

    For all the things we love about e-commerce, the reality is occasionally it doesn't work out the way we (consumers) want it to. And you can't just run to the store and make an exchange when it's a purchase from, oh, say, a boutique on the other side of the country.

    So how do we get our problems fixed so we're happy consumers? (And how to brands recover from little mishaps?)

    A fellow Resourcian shared a story with me about an online purchase gone bad. She'd ordered a coffee table book for her mom's birthday. It arrived all wrapped up (so nice, she was tempted to give it to her mom like that). A few hours before she was about to give it to her, she decided to re-wrap it and found the book damaged.

    She called the toll-free number. Got a machine.
    She sent an email. Didn't hear back.
    Two days later she found the company had a Twitter account, so she Tweeted to them about answering her email about the damaged gift.
    That was when the company responded. (They said her email had gotten stuck in their spam filter.)

    So here's Twitter providing value to a customer - cheap, easy and fast. In this on-demand world, consumers need to be able to reach the brands they're doing business with--for good reasons or bad. And brands who want to stay on our short lists should be listening when we have something to Tweet about. Do you have someone assigned (and empowered) to manage this for your brand?

    50 Columbus Bloggers

    TechLife Columbus / Bloggers

    Alvin Borromeo - (a Columbus blog)
    Andrew Miller - (social media focus) (personal, local, political, arts focus)
    Angela Siefer - (Shiny Door)
    Angelo Mandato - (personal blog), Twitter: @AngeloMandato
    PodCamp Ohio - blogging, podcasting and social media unconfernece held in Columbus, OH
    Plugins, The WordPress Plugins Podcast - blog and podcact covering WordPress plugins
    Artie Isaac - Net Cotton Content on creativity, ethics, marketing and engagement in life
    Ben Blanquera - - A chronicle of TechLife in Columbus
    Bradley Spencer - Wordpress Consulting and SEO How people are using Wordpress to make money online, and tips and tools you can use too.
    Brian Link - - Social Media for business and Agile software development at BE Interactive Consulting
    Brian Lockrey - (A blog about Web 2.0 tools, widgets, tips, social media and other random things.)
    Chris Elliott - - A Public and Professional Speaking blog with an emphisis on Toastmasters and my competing in the World Championship of Public Speaking.
    Chris Peters - Glass Case - A blog about Internet marketing, e-commerce, and the joys & challenges of running a small business.
    Christopher Grant - - (Programming, Technology, Business, Leadership)
    Dan Harris - - (Marketing, Social Media, Branding, Business, and Startups)
    Dave Culbertson - (click of the week along with random commentary about Internet marketing, social media, and SEO for Columbus, Ohio and beyond)
    David Lambert blog - (All about the business, process and craft of building software)
    David Chesebrough - COSI -
    Eileen Tuttle - Imagine the Potential on creativity, brand identity, teamwork, management and communication
    Gary Moneysmith -
    George Black - (News and comment of interest to home buyers and owners )
    Jason Blanton - (Technology, Social Media, Social Networking, blogging and anything that hits me)
    Jason Champion - (C# .NET Software Development)
    Jeff Hunsaker - (Microsoft-related software technology and architecture)
    Jim Hendrickson - (Strategy, Globalization, Technology, Reflections on Life, Leadership and Growth)
    Jody Dzuranin, @ the convergence of Health & Technology
    Joel Gerber - (Technology, Open Source and random topics)
    John Edwards - | Ideas, tips and advice aimed at demystifying doing business on the web
    Kevin Doyle - (Technology and geeky related news, reviews and opinions)
    Kevin Gadd - TechColumbus -
    Lara Kretler blog - (The intersection of PR and social media/technology)
    Laura Rees - - Learn to ripen your ideas.
    Mary Wehrle - From This Side Of The Reflecting Pond - Personal blog about anything, The Girl In The Z - About Nissan Z cars,
    PodCamp Ohio - For all things PodCamp, The Central Ohio Network - Networking and events around Central Ohio.
    Maureen Metcalf - Leadership, Organizational Transformation, Change Management -
    Mike Bowers - Ideas to Deals -
    Mike Figliuolo - Leadership, Communications, Career, etc. -
    Mike McBride - (Technology, Litigation Support, Photography and whatever else I want to talk about.)
    Patrick Murphy - Brand Thunder -
    Rick Coplin - TechColumbus - General focus on startups and entrepreneurs in Central Ohio intertwined with social media other topics.
    Rocky VanBrimmer - Central Ohio Network -
    Sandy Blanquera - | Everything related to life and home.
    Scott Good -
    Scott Schweitzer - l A look at Ohio legislative and regulatory technology issues
    Shane Haggerty-Social Avenue (A blog about the ever-winding road of marketing, PR, and social media.)
    Tim Eby blog - (Observations on media, social media, journalism, etc.)
    Tom Williams - InnoGage -
    Tony DiSanza - Innovativ Consulting Partners Innovativ Insight
    Walker Evans - (Columbus News & Opinion) & (Personal Blog)
    Wil Schroter - Go BIG Network -

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    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Hints of a Tech Gold Mine in the Stimulus Package - Bits Blog -

    Hints of a Tech Gold Mine in the Stimulus Package - Bits Blog -

    Hints of a Tech Gold Mine in the Stimulus Package

    The headline technology winners in the government’s economic stimulus package have been electronic health records and smart grids, where computing is front and center. Many billions have been pledged to these obviously high-tech fields.

    Policy and Law

    Yet a far larger flow of money into information technology may eventually come from state and local governments as part of a vast array of stimulus-package investment projects, according to Joaquin Gonzalez, director of research for CivicUS, which advises state and local governments.

    Mr. Gonzalez estimates that between $250 billion and $300 billion of the stimulus funding is targeted for state and local government projects intended to modernize and improve the efficiency of public services. This is not money, he says, to plug budget gaps, but for investments designed to make local government work smarter. In doing so, Mr. Gonzalez calculates, as much as one-third of that total will be spent on information technology projects, often involving the Web, to streamline and improve the delivery of public services and information to citizens.

    The stimulus legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also calls for detailed reporting and tracking of the federal funds that will be handed out. Many companies, large and small, are rushing to offer project-monitoring software for state and local governments. In a research note this week, CivicUS surveyed the vendors’ scramble. The offerings come from the biggest companies, like Microsoft’s Stimulus360 and I.B.M.’s Economic Recovery Fund Tracking, and from smaller suppliers, like Acumen’s Stimulus Tracking and Recipient Transparency, or START.

    These software “dashboards” for tracking projects are strategic products, especially for the big companies. The state and local government market for information technology is scattered and difficult to crack. By selling the dashboard software, the big companies are trying to get a foot in the door, Mr. Gonzalez said, and potentially a head start in grabbing a share of the expected surge in stimulus-funded technology spending.

    In its report, CivicUS surveys other suppliers including MicroStrategy, CGI, Visible Strategies and Onvia. And state and local governments, the research firm says, should look to software to help them do three things: support reporting to the federal government, share information with citizens on the progress and benefits of projects, and manage the projects themselves.

    The demand for project tracking technology, fueled by the stimulus package, extends beyond the companies cited in the CivicUS research note. A startup in San Francisco, Innotas, which offers Web-based technology-project software, has seen the effect. “The biggest growth area for us is state and local government,” observed Keith Carlson, chief executive of Innotas.

    What is Web-Scale post #2 - Available and Reliable - Designing the future - Mike Teets VP OCLC

    Click here for original post : Available and Reliable - Designing the future

    By Mike Teets, VP Enterprise Architecture, OCLC

    This is the second post in the series on "What is Web-Scale". It has been a while since my first post so I had better get on with it. I took an informal poll on twitter to select which area of the web-scale / cloud concepts to expand. Transparency was popular but the most popular was "just do them in order". That is what I will do. Transparency will be next.
    Reiterating the bullet from the summary post: Available and Reliable: 99.9 or 99.99% Availability (24x7x365, not against an advertised availability) Always On: No down time, planned or otherwise. The site must always be available.
    A common internet forum statement is "If there aren't pictures, it didn't happen"... so here is a picture. The first thing about availability at scale is that you cannot depend on opinions or feelings about whether it is good enough. You must measure it. It must be measured every second of every day. The data must be logged over long periods to determine individual service frailty. For massively scalable systems, this data must be reviewed daily with alarms going off anytime a system falls out of specification. The following is a high level dashboard of one of our system monitors at OCLC. Failures must be evaluated for corrective action. It's just not optional.

    The numbers: What does it mean... system managers slang is "Two nines" or "Four nines". 99% available is "2 nines", 99.99% is four. Simple enough right? While it seems mathematically simple, this area tends to be often misunderstood. We all tend to relate statements on reliability to personal devices and machines that are very local and singular in nature. A single machine at 99.99% is down for 52 minutes a year.
    99% - 3.65 days outage per year
    99.9% - 8.76 hours outage per year
    99.99% - 52.56 minutes outage per year
    99.999% - 5.256 minutes outage per year
    99.9999% - 31.536 seconds outage per year
    99.99999% - 3.1536 seconds outage per year
    Now the bad news: A service actually drops to 99.98 available when it is dependent on just two 99.99% lower level services (105 minutes per year). This can be called series availability. The more services you chain together the worse your reliability gets.
    2 services in series: 365 * 24 * 60 * .9999 * .9999 = 105 minutes annually.
    3 services in series: 365 * 24 * 60 * .9999 * .9999 * .9999 = 157 minutes annually.
    As you might guess, our current Web 2.0 mashup world is generating reliability issues as services are very typically series based... metasearch -> webui -> SRU -> database -> data just as a common example.

    Don't despair, there is good news! This good news actually supports a service architecture environment instead of detracts. There are ways to improve availability with a SOA model. The first, and most expensive way is to buy and manage very highly reliable individual systems. This is the path the big iron of the 80's took... and it got very, very expensive. In modern highly available environments, this issue is addressed by parallelizing the workload. Simply double up each service so that both must be down for the entire system to be down and you are back to 52 minutes with 99.99% on each machine.
    Availability = 1 - (1-MachineAvail)**2
    Given that, we have even better news, if you double 99% available machines you get 99.99% availability, triple and you get 99.9999%! This is why the massively scalable architectures now can use commodity hardware instead of paying for it in the individual machines.
    In real life examples however it is never "simply double..." There are issues in software design, data integrity issues, transaction routing, load balancing, fail-over, etc. These all contribute a significant cost to obtaining highly reliable systems. In other words, we moved some expense from hardware to software. This is good news again since software copies scale less expensively than hardware.
    Planned verses Unplanned: How many of our services have an outage notification page or warning page of pending outage or a current outage? Historically we have struggled over the words to use as I am sure everyone has. We carefully craft messages and explanations. But realize this... NOBODY READS THEM! We might feel a little better when we find the notice after we see a service has failed but the vast majority of users of our systems just see a failure and move on to an alternate.

    Another false comfort is that somehow planned and unplanned outages are different. Outages for upgrades are really not tolerated by users. Major internet services figured this out from the beginning. The service must be on at all times. Software installs must be done on a rolling basis while user transactions are serviced. Hardware additions or replacements must be the same. Always on is now the default end-user expectation.
    A positive byproduct of the scaling across commodity hardware for reliability is that there are now many options for rolling installs across an environment. It can be done in parallel data centers, farms within data centers, individual machines or even virtual machines on a single host. Again, it takes software design and configuration management design, but it is quite practical in today's environments.
    OCLC: Focusing on just one service platform, is comprised of 150 servers. These servers are divided into farms by function... 65 database servers, 75 application servers, and 10 servers supporting harvesting and bots. We continually add hardware and rebalance the environment with demand. We have two data centers today and will likely have more in the future as we grow and balance load geographically.
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    Result Data Recognized as Partner of the Year

    Result Data Named Education Partner of the Year

    Result Data has been named the SAP BusinessObjects Authorized Education Partner of the Year for 2008. Result Data earned this award by exceeding all goals for the year and maintaining a high customer satisfaction index and a strong relationship with SAP.

    Result Data Named CRM Partner of the Year

    Result Data was named the Sage CRM Solutions - Customer Reference Program CRM Business Partner of the Year at the recent Insights Conference in Nashville. Result Data earned this award by being the top partner in the Sage customer reference program.

    Wyliemac Gives Back - Grass roots sponsorship of niche tech events

    Ben's note: Please take a moment to read - Alvin is a incredible community leader who's working very hard to build a strong vibrant community. He's an example of someone who's chosen to be part of the solution and not content with letting others do the the heavy lifting - kudos Alvin aka @wyliemac

    Wyliemac Gives Back

    As you know, I organize, with the help of many people, some tech events around Columbus, like Startup Weekend, Ignite, and WordCamp. Along with my many co-organizers, these events cannot be done without the help of some awesome sponsors and venues. I’ve found that there’s a lot of people that want to sponsor and support tech events in Columbus. But you have to find them.

    And other than Startup Weekend, the big institutional investors seem reluctant to sponsor small niche tech events like the ones I put on. As a thank you to my sponsors, I’d like to give back by helping tech events in Columbus find sponsors. Little sponsors. You and I. The ones with “personal brands”.

    I want to put together a syndicate of people that give a little to pool their money for sponsorship. The event will have a link to a landing page with all of the individual sponsors and we’ll also set up individual pages so you can get some Google juice.

    The first event I want to do this for is Why eRubyCon? Because it’s being put on by EdgeCase, which have sponsored Startup Weekend and Ignite. Thanks objo!

    The bronze level of sponsorship is $750. I’d like to get 30 or 31 people to commit $25 a piece to sponsor this great tech event. Comment below if you want to help me out. If I can get enough to commit, then I’ll collect money and we’ll get it done. (Click here to comment and contribute)


    TechLife midweek update - 5/27/09

    Original posting with links at -
    Kudos and Shoutouts

    Happy Belated Birthday to Alvin Borromeo - aka @wyliemac
    Columbus featured in Wall Street Journal article for attracting high tech startups
    Business Builders and TechColumbus for keeping and attracting talent to Columbus with the IdeaPitch and Industry Forum - The winner of the Back-of-the-Napkin track was Columbus Green Consultants (contact: Michael Pintar The winner of the Ready-to-Fly track was Frosh Tees Limited (contact: Nils Root
    Chris Judd for organizing the Columbus iPhone Developers Group
    Ken Lazar and the Scioto Ridge Job Networking Group for providing support to those in job transition

    Out and about

    50 Columbus Bloggers - are you on the list??
    Chris Brogan coming to Ohio Growth Summit - June 10
    Green Movement Picks up Steam - Columbus Green Life
    - Reminder - Help Elly with her research on use of online technologies in professional work by taking a survey

    Upcoming Events

    Wed 6/10 - Ohio Growth Summit
    Wed 5/27 - XP User Group- Scrum-ban
    Wed 5/27 - New Albany TechStart Event
    Wed 5/27 -
    Central Ohio Linux User Group
    Thurs 5/28 - COHAA- Scrum-ban
    Friday 5/29 - OWL - Securing Web Applications - Speaker Doug Davidson, President of Jacadis
    Friday 5/29 - Business Builders BBQ Cookout @ Ohio State Oval
    Friday 5/29 - Fuse Factory Workshop May 30: Getting Started with Flash Animation

    Peace out,


    Ted Talks Shai Agassi: A bold plan for mass adoption of electric cars

    About this talk

    Forget about the hybrid auto -- Shai Agassi says it's electric cars or bust if we want to impact emissions. His company, Better Place, has a radical plan to take entire countries oil-free by 2020.

    About Shai Agassi

    Shai Agassi wants to put you behind the wheel of an electric car -- but he doesn't want you to sacrifice convenience (or cash) to do it.

    WSJ article features Columbus - High-Tech Start-Ups Put Down Roots in New Soil -

    High-Tech Start-Ups Put Down Roots in New Soil -

    High-tech start-ups are increasingly setting up shop in places previously not known for attracting high-tech firms.

    A number of cities, such as Kalamazoo, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio, are offering grant money and tax breaks to high-tech start-ups, just as the usual venture-capital hot spots, such as Silicon Valley and Boston, continue to see a pullback in venture lending. Many of the nontraditional cities require that start-ups receiving grants invest in their area, leaving companies little choice but to locate -- or relocate -- their businesses.

    Firms also are being lured by the lower cost of doing business in such cities. And, as the number of high-tech start-ups increases in these areas, existing companies find that as they grow, they no longer have to leave Ohio, Michigan and other states that traditionally have had less to offer in the way of high-tech communities and investors.

    "In the last 90 days, we've seen 50 or 60" start-ups that are willing to relocate in order to secure funding, says Ron Kitchens, chief executive of Southwest Michigan First, a privately funded economic-development company based in Kalamazoo. "Companies in Boston, San Jose -- they wouldn't have given us the time of day and now they're calling and asking if we have interest. He says the number of deals the company is considering funding has doubled in the past 120 days.

    Peter Gingras founded medical-device maker Proxy Biomedical Ltd. and set up shop in Galway, Ireland, in 2003, partly to take advantage of the area's cluster of related companies and because of incentives the nation offered. But as the company grew, he wanted to establish a presence in the U.S. -- the world's largest market for medical devices.

    To ease communication with facilities in Ireland, Mr. Gingras wanted to set up shop in the Eastern Time Zone. So last year he began looking into Boston, a logical choice given the city's established medical-technology community, and Cleveland, where a consultant he worked with was located.

    He says he didn't know just how aggressive Ohio had become in doling out funding and tax breaks to lure high-tech businesses. Before Boston officials even responded to his funding query, Mr. Gingras says, "the State of Ohio, the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Clinic stepped up and put a competitive package together. In the end, it was an easy decision."

    The company plans to open its Cleveland office in June. Mr. Gingras wouldn't say how much funding he received, but did say the package included two Ohio Department of Development grants, relocation assistance from the Cleveland Clinic and funding from the city.

    Baiju Shah, president and CEO of BioEnterprise, a Cleveland-based nonprofit devoted to accelerating the growth of biotechnology in Northeast Ohio, says since the money comes from both government intent on fueling long-term growth and private investors who often have histories in these towns, "regions like Cleveland that have been heavily investing in new industries aren't bearing as adverse an impact" from the downturn. By contrast, Silicon Valley has been pummeled by a sagging venture-capital industry, where traditional investors have become more risk averse and have backed off markedly.

    Officials at venture funds in areas like Ohio say they make sure applicants aren't just following the money in hard times. "They'd have to establish a commitment [to the region], sign a lease," says Steve Weathers, managing director at Toledo venture fund Rocket Ventures, a division of Regional Growth Partnership, a nonprofit development company. He says a successful West Coast start-up has called Rocket Ventures seeking funding, but hasn't offered to move the company headquarters or make a real investment in Toledo. The company "just wants us for our money," Mr. Weathers says.

    Some companies are happy they don't have to abandon their roots in order to grow. Over several decades, Philip Eggers has started six medical technology companies in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. The first five companies moved to the West Coast as they grew and needed investors and business partners. But last year, as Mr. Eggers prepared to bring his latest company, Cardiox Corp., into the commercial phase, he hoped to stay local to bring jobs and money to his hometown.

    Mr. Eggers knew Ohio had stepped up its commitment to technology development. Still, he says, as he sought investors for the company, which focuses on noninvasive detection of certain heart defects, he "still had some skepticism that there weren't the [same] opportunities here."

    Mr. Eggers approached TechColumbus, an organization dedicated to creating a technology-based economy in the region, where officials assured him that the local venture community was much more robust these days and he could raise the money he needed. TechColumbus has committed $500,000 to Cardiox.

    According to TechColumbus, venture investments in Central Ohio, which includes Columbus, totaled $172 million in 2008, up from $158 million in 2007 and $129 million in 2006.

    Other companies still worry about not having a connection to traditional venture-capital hubs. Last September, medical-device maker Freedom Meditech Inc. received $380,000 in seed funding from JumpStart Inc., a Cleveland-based venture organization. Freedom Meditech's research and development is based in the Cleveland area, to take advantage of the low cost of doing business, tax breaks and the region's several hospitals and universities. But Craig Misrach, the firm's president and CEO, decided to keep the sales side of the business in San Diego.

    "When it comes to raising larger amounts as the company grows," he says, "it remains to be seen if the financing infrastructure [in Ohio] is up to par with the operational side. I think it would be a mistake if we ceased connection to the West Coast."

    Write to Simona Covel at

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    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Columbus iPhone Developers User Group - CIDUG Meeting - Objective-C - Meeting tonight

    There's a emerging iPhone developers group in Columbus - check the out - meeting tonight

    Columbus iPhone Developers User Group - CIDUG Meeting - Objective-C - TechLife Columbus (Columbus, OH) -

    Dinner provided by Dawson Professional Search - IT http://www.dawsoncare...

    Learn how to become dangerous enough with Objective-C to get rollin' with your iPhone projects at full throttle. We'll cover many of the features and quirks of the Objective-C language gradually as we inspect project code and even cover how you can REST-fully communicate over the Internet with web applications. The goal is to get you both more excited about and comfortable with coding iPhone apps.


    Marc Peabody is a Software Artisan doing Ruby work at EdgeCase, LLC. He achieved SCJP, SCWCD, SCBD, SCBCD, SCDJWS and SCEA during his previous run as a Java guy and made minor contributions to a couple books including Head First Servlets & JSP. He's been highly addicted to learning new programming language paradigms the last few years and likes to creatively share what he learns with the good folks of Columbus.

    Tuesday, May 26th
    Time: 6:30 pm
    Place: OCLC’s Kilgour building auditorium

    OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
    6565 Frantz Road
    Dublin, OH 43017-3395 USA

    Map -

    Fisher College of Business Announces 2009 Deloitte Business Plan Competition Winners | TechColumbus

    Fisher College of Business Announces 2009 Deloitte Business Plan Competition Winners | TechColumbus

    May 22, 2009

    Three promising biomedical innovations have taken top honors in the annual Deloitte Business Plan Competition at OSU’s Fisher College of Business. The competition is designed to stimulate and nourish the entrepreneurial spirit in OSU students by encouraging them to develop new ventures based on their own ideas and technologies. It is also meant to serve as a real-world workshop in which students learn to successfully pitch their ideas to investors. Competition winners are awarded approximately $140,000 in cash and services to use as start-up funds to transform their ideas into thriving businesses.

    The 2009 winners are all biomedical in nature and include:

    1st Place – Nanofiber Solutions which applies newly patented technologies to cell culture, drug screening, cancer research and other biomedical fields to increase research speed and effectiveness. Nanofiber mats can be used to create 3D microenvironments that will recapitulate the in vivo (in the body) environment, facilitating faster drug screening and more effective cancer research.

    2nd Place – Bionovations which has developed the world’s first proprietary diagnostic tool for evaluating patients for life-threatening vulnerable plaque, a contributor to eighty percent of all deaths from heart attacks.

    3rd Place – IR Diagnostyx which will provide a new personal medical device and reliable procedures for non-invasive, real time diagnosis of critical diseases such as Interstitial Cystitis, Chronic Kidney Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The device relies on patented biomarkers to ensure early therapeutic intervention and improvement in the quality of life of patients.

    Congratulations to all who participated in this year’s competition.

    For more information on the Deloitte Business Plan Competition, visit:

    Monday, May 25, 2009

    Open Position - Platform Lab ‘New Business Account Representative’ | TechColumbus

    Platform Lab ‘New Business Account Representative’ | TechColumbus

    Company TechColumbus

    College graduate preferred


    Sales/Marketing background critical


    Platform Lab, the IT test division of TechColumbus, is looking for a motivated IT business professional with an affinity for business development and sales that can help build national awareness of this outstanding TechColumbus resource and propel the business forward. Interested parties should submit a resume and sample marketing letter written to a local CIO to Chelsey Wegner of TechColumbus at with the header: Platform Lab/Gruetter.

    The Platform Lab ‘New Business Account Representative’ primary role is a sales/business development position that is responsible for closing new business, sales lead generation and discovering, targeting and contacting target firms both regionally and nationally.

    Other key aspects of the position include:

    * Website and collateral marketing administration, including implement search engine optimization tactics, creation of marketing letters/blogs/postings, management of marketing campaigns and organization of website.

    * Event coordination, primarily coordinating training room and conference rooms schedules at multiple locations and promoting of events/classes and TechColumbus/Platform Lab.

    * Support of client engagements, including lifting, wiring and transporting hardware between test labs at branch locations.

    Considered applicants are required to be responsible, reliable and have a laser focus on client satisfaction. The position will need an individual with very high productivity, a positive attitude and that work well in a team environment.

    Job URL
    Zip Code 43212

    Keeping and attracting talent to Columbus - IdeaPitch and Industry Forum wrapup

    On Wednesday May 20th Tech Columbus and Business Builders Club collaborated to present the IdeaPitch and Industry Forum.  There were over 200 people in attendance at this meaningful event.  The Industry Forum was a new twist on the career fair - where students, companies, and industry professionals were able to connect and build relationships in a casual yet professional environment.  Thanks to PMI and all participating companies/individuals for sponsoring the Industry Forum!

    The IdeaPitch Competition was the second of it's kind put on by the Business Builders Club.  It featured three rounds: (1) Executive Summary, (2) Elevator Pitch, (3) Venture Capital style pitch.  The competition featured two tracks: "Back-of-the-Napkin" (purely conceptual idea) and "Ready-to-Fly" (currently operating business).  First place winners in each track received $500 each - in the form of a big check (check the pictures!).  The winner of the Back-of-the-Napkin track was Columbus Green Consultants (contact: Michael Pintar  The winner of the Ready-to-Fly track was Frosh Tees Limited (contact: Nils Root  The IdeaPitch competition was made possible thanks to generous support from Sterling Commerce and FastSwitch

    The IdeaPitch Competition allows undergraduate students at Ohio State and Central Ohio universities to conceptualize and articulate their ideas - and get feedback from seasoned entrepreneurs and investors.  To get involved in future IdeaPitch Competition or other Business Builders Club initiatives - contact Luke Barbara (President 2009-2010) at

    Business Builders Club is the entrepreneurship student organization at Ohio State.  Business Builders Club connects current and aspiring entrepreneurs with the knowledge, resources, and connections to build successful businesses and social ventures. (new website launching soon!)  TechColumbus accelerates the growth of the innovation economy by providing vital resources and assistance to people and enterprises that depend on technology to achieve their business goals.  Both organizations look forward to working together in the future to catalyze entrepreneurship and innovation in Central Ohio!

    Luke Barbara
    President, Business Builders Club

    Friday, May 22, 2009

    Green movement picks up speed

    Want to do something green? Bike to work. Use different light bulbs. Clean with vinegar instead of grocery store cleaning solutions. Plant a vegetable garden... And the list goes on.

    Truth is, if you do it, there's probably a way to do it green. But how? And how can you fit it into your life style?

    Answering questions like these is the mission of the newly formed Columbus Green Life group, an organization dedicated to bringing together individuals and organizations in Columbus who want to be green.

    "We're starting to see a behavior change in the way that people live in Columbus as far as the environment," says Andrew Spott, one of the group's co-founders. "But right now, the efforts seem kind of scattered. We started Columbus Green Life so that all the momentum can be combined."

    People who are interested in the green movement can join the community at There, they'll find a list of environmentally friendly resources, as well as a place to post questions. And Columbus Green Life isn't just online.

    "We're partnering with other organizations to hold real time events, too. It's about creating a passionate green community in Columbus - both online and offline," says Spott.

    In April, for example, Columbus Green Life presented the Green Transportation Workshop along with Consider Biking and Third Hand. The workshop shared ways that Columbus commuters could replace some of their vehicle transportation with biking and walking. Future plans include a variety of events, from workshops on how to green your office to networking get-togethers.

    Columbus Green Life is open to all, whether you've been doing it for a while or are just now exploring going green.

    As Spott puts it, "Anyone that has an interest in sustainable living is invited to contribute. Everyone can post questions, share ideas, and suggest events. We really want the whole community involved."

    For more information, or to join Columbus Green Life, take a look at the Green Life site.

    Labels: , ,

    Open Position - Exchange and Active Directory Administrator

    Contract to Hire Position. Seeking folks who want Full Time Employment.    
    This client is looking for Microsoft Exchange 2003 and Active Directory infrastructure experience and expertise troubleshooting an Exchange 2003 clustered server environment. Extensive knowledge of the SMTP, IMAP, OWA, Security, and a Exchange 2007 upgrade would be a plus. 

    Competitive compensation with full benefits.
    Thank for your help in identifying potential contenders for this position. We also have Java and .net positions in Columbus, Several Perl developer positions too. Please feel free to pass this information on to anyone you know who possesses technical expertise, success attributes, and wants to contribute new ideas. All our clients look for team members with cooperation, collaboration and teamwork skills.   Only those who seek to help an organization increase its efficiency and who relish putting their problem solving skills to work will be happy in these roles.  
    Ready to start a Great Career?
    Qualified candidates are encouraged to email their resume and cover letter, referencing Job Code: CL-EADA-COH, to:; or call Glen at: 614-899-6696 x100.

    The Vortechs Group is one of the top independent technical recruiters in the United States.  We receive new positions every day and are constantly looking for candidates with the technical talent, business skills, experience and personal characteristics to make an impact for our clients. To view a complete list of our Career Opportunities, please CLICK HERE!

    Ohio Tech Bits Blog » Blog Archive » NorTech: Jobs in high-tech industries have been rising in Ohio

    Ohio Tech Bits Blog » Blog Archive » NorTech: Jobs in high-tech industries have been rising in Ohio

    NorTech: Jobs in high-tech industries have been rising in Ohio

    A new report from NorTech shows gains in high tech employment in northeast and all of Ohio in 2008.  The increases come despite the downturn in the economy, which has caused decreases in the number of jobs in other industries.
    The data, from NorTech’s blog:
    In 2008, total employment in Northeast Ohio stood at 1.8 million jobs, with 181,190 jobs credited to the high tech sector, representing 9.1% of the region’s economy. Between 2004 and 2008, Northeast Ohio’s high tech employment grew 3.7%, and added 6,499 jobs, while employment in Northeast Ohio’s non high tech industries declined 1.4% and lost 25,670 jobs. Average wages in Northeast Ohio’s high tech industries are $70,075 which is almost double those wages in Northeast Ohio’s non- high tech industries at $37,297.
    Similar trends were identified for the entire state of Ohio. Last year, statewide data for Ohio show total employment at 5.2 million jobs, with 495,088 jobs credited to the high-tech sector, representing 9.5% of the state’s economy. Between 2004 and 2008, Ohio’s high tech employment grew 4.0%, and added 19,198 jobs, while employment in Ohio’s non-high tech industries declined 0.2% and lost 7,247 jobs. Average wages for employees in Ohio’s high tech industries are $76,674, more than double the wages in Ohio’s non-high tech industries at $37,803.
    Coverage of the report, from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
    Representatives of other economic development organizations, including the Fund for Our Economic Future and the Greater Cleveland Partnership, said they are encouraged that public and private efforts to expand the high-tech economy are starting to pay off.
    But they said more investments in research, technology commercialization and venture capital are needed to compete globally. The area also still faces challenges due to a smaller pool of people trained for high-tech jobs.
    “The numbers show that our community is making the right investments and it’s beginning to pay off with good jobs,” said Brad Whitehead, president of the Fund for Our Economic Future. “Now it’s critical to ensure that our work force is prepared to meet the needs of this growing sector.”
    The complete report is available here.
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