Yesterday in Paris, the French Government gathered the ICT community for the first seminar of the series on the Stimulus plan (link in french). The agenda of the day: where, when and how to invest into the Digital Economy.
Of course, Fiber Broadband was one of *the* topics of the day. The opening session has been quite interesting, with several key actors - the Prime Minister, two former Prime Ministers, Ministers, Senators, operators - claiming that if France is to be "fibered", than it must be the whole country, meaning Rural areas as well.
Mr. Yves Le Mouël, President of the French Telcos Federation (comprising all of them but Illiad-Free), used an expression which I find pretty accurate: "in the villages, we must bring Fiber up to the Church."
Starting today, I declare " FTTCh Fiber-To-The-Church " to be the new motto of us Rural Broadband activists.
Right after the Pyretic conference in Pau, I will attend the 6th edition of the Sustainable Development Workshop "Ateliers du Développement Durable" in Bordeaux, October 20-21.
Unlike many of the seminars and conferences I've seen this year on the subject "Sustainable Development", this workshop is focusing on the Social aspects of things. In summary: how to get out of the current crisis by putting PEOPLE at the very center of the *new* Society' s model.
Quite a challenge, right ?...
Today is such a day. Waking up hearing a tribute to the King of Pop is definitely not the best way to start. Anyway, the Show Must Go On. Thanks for all the joy and happiness you gave us, Man.
It's new, it's still in alpha stage, and it's made by Google. It's going to change the World. Granted *.
It's called "Wave", and you're going to surf on it a lot soon.
* Think Net Neutrality, Open Neutral Access, and Open Mind.
I recently changed my personal "business" card for a mini-card made by the folks at Moo.com. After a few weeks giving it away here and there at conferences or meetings, I can tell: it makes the difference.
People really look at it, asking me questions such as "Where is this ?", "Who made it ?", "Aren't you afraid people going to lose it?". The thing is, no matter the question, this mini-card helps engaging the conversation. It does the in-grouping per itself.
For instance, the photo is a snapshot from the landscape as one can enjoy from the Boulevard des Pyrénées in Pau; however, lots of people start by claiming "hum, looks like [this place]", the place being one they obviously went before - I've heard Tunisia, Florida, California. I then let them enumerate other possible locations, to finally tell them the answer: "it's Pau, France". Most of the guys are surprised, offering me the opportunity to explain the beauty of the Pau Broadband Country.
The lesson of this is well known on the other side of the Ocean since years, however it's quite nice to experiment it on a daily basis: to stand out of the crowd, be different.
Just for fun: since 2003, I used three different formats and styles for my personal business cards. See the picture - the U.I. card is obsolete - I no longer have a foot in San Fran or Dubai, yet I still like its design (self-made, thanks ;-)
I recently stumbled upon this video of a Southwest Airline flight Attendant doing his announcements the Rap way. Simply a refreshing moment of pure groove, as only Black people know how to spread joy and happiness just singing and/or dancing - I remember a nice saleswoman at a Duty-free store at Johannesburg' airport some years ago: she was dancing on the desk.
Actually, this moment reminds the one I enjoyed myself back in May 2000 during the first European Distributors Seminar I've organized at Agilent Technologies. A 3-days intensive workshop aimed a creating a tight bond between us the ONT Optical Network Test Division and our european reps, the outcomes of the event have proved being tremendous. From pure technical insights to creative ways to support our customers, this seminar has been a true milestone in the (unfortunately short) life of the Agilent ONT Division.
The "funny" thing is that on the last day of the seminar, I have had to let the people brainstorm without me: I had to work on a tender. A very last minute call from the regional Sales manager, who was unable to write the proposal himself. Of course, as usual, this was on Friday, for a hard deadline on the Monday. You can imagine how I felt: upset because this guy didn't follow my recommendations and suggestions, all made weeks before, and depressed because we were set to lose the tender anyway then.
Knowing me as a brother do, my friend Peter Schweiger came to my room to pick me up for the coffee break. It was almost 10:30AM, and I was almost shaking, as I was nervous as never before. As I entered the meeting room, all the distributors and my Agilent colleagues welcomed me like I was a Rock star (sort of ;-) : they knew I needed warm positive thoughts to get rid of my nervousness.
That's where this rap by the South West flight attendant comes in: deeply touched by their sincerity, I decided to ask all the participants to sing a french song with me. "Melissa", by Julien Clerc. I tell you: seeing 20 people clapping their hands in rhythm, and hearing them singing "Matez ma métisse" with the english, scottish, german, spanish, italian, danish, american (and french ;-) accents was a pure moment of joyce. They made me forget this bloody tender, and they made us a true, real team.
Almost 9 years after, when I meet some of my former reps, we always remember this very moment, when we all became part of the same group.
Keep in mind, the next time you have to create a team: let's sing together.
This is the true power of Twitter: break the frontiers and connect together people who normally couldn't be in touch. See the wowing email that I've got today :
Hi, Marc Duchesne (mduchesn).
Gov Schwarzenegger (schwarzenegger) is now following your updates on Twitter.
Check out Gov Schwarzenegger's profile here:
Evan Carmichael of EvanCarmichael.com has recently published an impressive list of blogs to follow (Twitter, Twitter...) this year 2009. Guess what : everything Sustainability is at the top of this list.
Forget Web 2.0, WebTV, and all the geek stuff. This year, Green is the motto. Let's hope it will stay so for the hundred years to come.
To start with, you may subscribe to TreeHugger right now.
However, the key question is: when will Guy Kawasaki launch his own new venture in the Green field ? ;-)
In his post "The panhandler' s secret", Seth Godin tells us how he discovered the secret of a successful sale:
"When there were old-school parking meters in New York, quarters were precious.
One day, I'm walking down the street and a guy comes up to me and says, "Do you have a dollar for four quarters?" He held out his hand with four quarters in it.
Curious, I engaged with him. I took out a dollar bill and took the four quarters.
Then he turned to me and said, "can you spare a quarter?"
What a fascinating interaction.
First, he engaged me. A fair trade, one that perhaps even benefited me, not him.
Now, we have a relationship. Now, he knows I have a quarter (in my hand, even). So his next request is much more difficult to turn down. If he had just walked up to me and said, "can you spare a quarter," he would have been invisible.
Too often, we close the sale before we even open it.
Interact first, sell second."
Actually, a successful sale is a 4-step process, and only 4 steps.
I personally have applied it all along my professional life in the High Tech business-to-business without knowing I was following this very process, like Monsieur Jourdain in Moliere' s "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" was speaking prose all his life without knowing it.
Since a few years, I'm experiencing this 4-step process in the real life, I mean B2C. Helping a friend of mine, owner of a luxury menswear store, during the Winter and Summer shopping festivals here in France, I'm selling Pierre Cardin suits (and jackets, shirts, ties...) during the weekends. Ever been selling something to consumers ? During a shopping festival ? On the saturdays and sundays ? I tell you : it's tough. To me, selling a 259€ Pierre Cardin' "Travel" suit in January is way harder than selling for $ 1M of Optical Test equipments to a Telco during Downturn. Because the competition is harder (there are plenty of other stores selling suits, at lower prices) and convincing the decision maker (i.e. the wife or the mother ;-) is more difficult.
However, I achieve the quota, and even more. There's no secret here, just evidence. Here are the four steps of a successful sale :
#1 : engage. What Seth Godin calls "interact", or my dear coach Hal Stitt names "ingroup". In the case of this menswear store, it consists of... greeting the clients. Say "hello". With a big large smile.
You can't believe how this first step is important: it is the key differentiator against the competition. I tell you: so many people coming back to us saying "you are the only store where we feel welcomed"...
#2 : listen. Here, it's a two-fold step: first, observe the end-user - ooops, the guy, and his decision maker - ooops, his wife (or his girl friend, or his mother, or his... boy friend - yes, it happens sometimes ;-) Which jacket or suit they touch, how they talk to each other, etc.
Then, and only then, you can go to them and offer them your assistance: "how can help you spend less time here" was the winning formula I found this year last January. Apparently, so unusual that it's an instant ice-breaking, giving you the opportunity to start the discussion with the client : what are they looking for, which usage (for instance in the case of a suit: is it for every day, if yes which kind of job, is it for a wedding, if yes, is he the lucky guy, etc.), what budget, if any, etc.
#3 : suggest. Once the end-user has clearly expressed his requirements, you can propose him a selection of your products which might fit to his needs. Sounds familiar, right ? In the case of this store, it can be the same suit but in two different sizes, or the same style but made of different wool, etc.
Here, don't forget the back-up plan: maybe the first solution you'll propose won't fit. Then, you have to be ready to immediately suggest a second solution. In the case of a suit, it can be a different size, a different style, a different fabric.
#4 : close. The end-user is happy with your solution ? Fine. Now the tough part: make him pay. First of all, you need to get the decision maker on the same line. In the case of Menswear, surprisingly enough (at least to me when I started a few years back), it's the Woman who decides, statistically 80% of the deals. Make sure she likes her man in this beautiful 2-buttons Cardin 2008. In other words, make HER shine. Tell her husband that looking nice in that suit will make his wife look even cuter. Speak respect and honor, things that women loves to hear from a man because it so rare those days. In summary, pay attention to HER problem.
In the case of B2B, it could be that the decision maker - the CEO, the Procurement manager, the Field Op director, whoever - is facing issues with manufacturing, shipments, deliveries, data processing, whatever problem making his days a real pain. There are tons of business books and blogs out there on the subject, so this is not the purpose of this post to explain it ;-)
In summary: engage, listen, suggest, close. Efficient in both B2C and B2B. The key is: pay attention to the customer. Say "hello".
France, my home country, is in bad shape, as the rest of the World. Since beginning of this year, you may have noticed that I've started a new series of posts, titled "That's Why I'd Better Move To The US". The reason is that I love my country so much that I'm desperate seeing how bad things are here.
Of course, as hundreds of thousands of other Frenchies, I do wake up each and every morning asking myself: what can I do for my country today. J.F. Kennedy is still alive out there... However, doing something for the country is not an easy one. More than often, you hit the wall hard. In this case, my strategy is simple: RASPSA, "Reset, And Same Player Shoot Again".
French singer Michel Polnareff wrote a beautiful song back in 1977 when he was banished from residence because of some conflict with the french Tax Administration. There's no better text to tell how I feel this morning about France.
Music by Michel Polnareff, Lyrics by Jean-Loup Dabadie
Read this. Ethan Nicolas, Rock star at Sun Microsystems, is to quit his job to become full-time developer of applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Simply because the first app he ever developed for the Apple' platform is now #1 Top Paid Application in the App Store. At $2.99 the download.
Changing the World, you said ?...
Evangelism and Marketing guru Guy Kawasaki has posted a 10-points explanation on how to use Twitter for business. That's "Twitter for Dummies", if you wish: a must read for all of you don't have a Twitter account yet.
I often wrote here and there that I wished we Agilent Musketeers had such a tool at our disposal when we were developing our flagship product: there is no better way to reach and keep in touch with the end-users.
That's why I as many other folks out there are putting Twitter at the center of (product) marketing strategies, whatever "marketing" means for you.
The official announcement just landed here. The 4th edition of the Ultra-Broadband Solutions & Applications 'Odebit' conference & tradeshow will be held on the 22d and 23d of September, in Paris-La Defense.
I do have the very privilege to be part of the organization, as I will manage and facilitate the very first 'Fiber Camp' unconference event ever organized in France - and in Europe, to date.
Actually, I've suggested the idea to the charming Sandrine Lagardere, founder and owner of Odebit, a few months ago. She immediately bought on the idea, as such of brainstorming workshop kind of event is a must in the current situation of everything 'Broadband' here in France and elsewhere in Europe.
Calling on a Fiber Camp since a year or so, I was delighted to learn from the folks in Lafayette, LA : they've put together the world-first CampFiber event back in October, with quite a nice success.
I will do my best to serve the Fiber-To-The-Home community down there in Lafayette's home country, hoping that the FiberCamp Paris will be a model for others in other parts of Europe.
More in the coming weeks, of course.
UPDATE Dec.3, 2008 : FiberCamp @ Odebit'09 wiki page here.
I'm no guru any longer (people called me *the fiber optics guru* back in the 90's-early 2k's - even at HP/Agilent, that says a lot ;-), however it seems that I do currently share the same trouble than Presentation Design guru Garr Reynolds. Actually, Garr's words in his recent post could be mine - I was to write something on that : " I find myself making more little mistakes and being less satisfied with my work overall unless I can take the time everyday to be alone and focus on one thing at a time. "
Is it aging ? I don't think so : at 48 in 2 months, my brain is still in better shape than most of the Generation Y (just kidding, Facebook readers ;-). My take is - such is Garr's too - that we are overhelmed by this Always-Urgent mode we live in since years. Less and less time to achieve more and more fragmented tasks. This is no new discovery, of course. Yet it's quite disturbing.
Yesterday afternoon, back from a meeting in Paris with young entrepreneur Mathieu Husson and his team, I was hit by a strange thought : "maybe I do too much". I suddenly realized that I may be currently too much immersed in too many open projects.
Then, last night whilst watching French Champion Tsonga fighting hard against Electric Roddick, I took a brief look on Twitter with my iPhone. My wife went sarcastic : "hey, can't you get off the grid for once ?".
So, I remembered the days at Agilent Boeblingen, Germany. We were working hard and fast - 3 years looking like 3 months, that's the one thing that's comes to our mind when we talk about this period. Yet things were organized, the German way. Process, process, process. At the end of the day, it gives you the VW Golf : attention to the details. When I moved from HP/Agilent headquarters in Paris to Boeblingen, I was used to work on 30 different projects at a time. Friends were used to say that I was "Mister 100-ideas a day". After 3 years in Germany, I was doing just a handful of things at a time, and I was doing those quite well, according to our customers and the management.
That was just 6 years ago. What has changed, since then ? Maybe people like Garr and myself and millions of other guys are just too curious and hungry to learn and share. Maybe we're just workoholic. Maybe we're just tech geeks, relying too much on the Internet and the iPhone. Working on our regular job, reading our RSS feeds, blogging, commenting, twitting : we're always "online", and... disrupted.
I have no answer so far, however I have the solution - at least for myself. From now on, I'm going back to the German mode. Check email and reply from 8:00AM to 9:00AM, then leave the incoming messages for the next day. Read and comment the news from 9 till 10. Then work on the priority #1 project until lunchtime (and keep this one at fixed hour). Take a short rest, off the grid. Go back to work at 1:30PM, and work on priority #2 project until tea break. Then get back and work on #3 project until everybody leaves the factory - ooops, until the kids come back home.
There is definitely no new method here. Just basic, time-proven common sense. That's why this post is the very last one I'll write and publish over a week-end !
Thanks to Garr for the reminder, and for the video. Follow the link here for more.
Presentation Zen here.
Yesterday, I've spent 3 hours only at the Paris Auto Show. My focus : the "green" cars. No deception : Hybrids, electric, and hydrogen prototypes, pre-production units, and production cars were all over the place. See my Flickr set for a brief overview.
Among several really interesting machines and concept cars, the Solo 2008 imagined by the Hungarian Antro Group is the one which kept my attention. Not only because of its exterior and interior designs, which both are eye-catching: the overall concept of the project seems to be drafted from scratch, as true breakthrough innovations always are.
Read the short story here.
That's from Hungary, folks. Not Silicon Valley or France (I have quite some doubts such an initiative would be possible here, for French generally dislike open non-profit ideas).
Of course, I discussed a while with the booth attendants. A young and shy Hungarian guy, who doesn't speak french at all (I imagine his nightmare on the week-ends at the show, when Mr. & Ms. Dupond of Aubervilliers - or any other place in France, no offense folks - stop by his booth), and a pretty nice Hungarian woman, speaking english and french like me. Both smiling and engaging, which is rare in such crazy environment such a crowdy day.
For sure, I didn't get her business card, but Antro' s managing director' s : Zsolt Magyar. Google this name, and you'll find this Zsolt Magyar. Can a "Hungarian born, Los Angeles based Production Sound Mixer with more than 7 years of experience" (imdb.com dixit) be also the lead economist at a green tech startup based in his mother country ? Why not. I'll find out this soon, as I'll get in touch with Antro for some sort of new venture I have in mind for the Pau Broadband Country.
Anyway, the actual team is impressive, although I'm definitely not familiar with Hungary and its ecosystem. At first sight, it proves the project to be really serious.
Now, why this free ad for an unknown startup in an unknown country ? Because of the Antro' s booth at the Paris Auto Show is made of... carton. Carton, wood, rope, linen fabric. Amazing. They've pushed the concept of sustainable development to the overall product marketing process. That's the clever thing. I never saw a exhibit in carton before. That's why I think those guys got it right. They understand the true meaning of being green. For them, "Green" is not just a marketing gimmik to gain customers 's attention. It's their philosophy.
See it by yourselves :
the door of the cabinet
Now you get it too, right ? So, next time you do think about being green, think Solo 2008.
I've just learned that french fiber optics expert Alain Oudet passed away last sunday. Alain was well-known and highly respected in the french optical communications industry. Together with Regis Trouart and Patrick Desprez, Alain started TDO (Trouart Desprez Oudet), the very first fiber optics training company in the country, back in 1986. In the early 90's, TDO, AMP (now Tyco) and Alcatel (now AlcatelLucent) launched Le Club Optique, a counter-initiative to the famous CREDO created by the cable manufacturer Acome and hardware maker Pouyet (now 3M Telecoms).
Alain and myself never been real "buddies". First of all, I wasn't part of his "inner-circle". Then, we've been pure rivals when I run my own firm, XWinG. Provided that in 1995, after 2 years of operation only, XWinG was taking over the installed base of TDO, thanks to a nice WOM marketing. Last, Regis Trouart joined me as associate in 1994 : it didn't help improving our relationships at all...
In 1997, we were #1 on the market. That pushed TDO to move to another business : fiber networks expertise. Alain quickly became a master of OTDR and dispersions measurements, gaining a pretty strong reputation on the fiber characterization services business in France and other parts of Europe.
As I joined HP/Agilent as a regular employee mid '98, I lost contact with Alain and TDO. When I came back to the french marketplace two years ago, Alain was still the same : smiling, engaging, and... smoking.
I don't know what TDO is going to become now that its leader is gone. Not my business, after all (actually, not exactly true : I'm in the fiber optics training business too. But I don't consider TDO as a rival any longer : we're not on the same page, simple as that). I just know why I haven't met Alain in the alleys of Odebit or the Telecoms Forum in Paris last week.
For the rest of us who were not born with an embedded calculator and did not graduate to an MBA, here's THE video that explains the reason why the World is going right into deep sh*t. Watch and listen to "Marketplace Senior Editor Paddy Hirsch [who] gives
a bubbly explanation of the intricacies of collateralized debt
obligations those financial instruments that got us into this financial
Since a few days, I've got the furious impression that the actual crisis is repeating the very same patterns than the Dotcom' crash *. When I saw the description of the CDO collateralized debt obligations loop, I saw the very same problem than the one we in the Telecoms/IT industry suffered back in 1998-2000, during the first Bubble : the guys who make the big money are totally disconnected from the guys who are supposed to pay. At this time, the whole Telecoms industry was B2B. Remember Telecom'99 in Geneva ? 90% of the exhibitors were there to exhibit their stuff (prototypes, commercial products, booth hostesses) to the other exhibitors. You and me as the real end-user/consumer ? Nowhere to see.
The fact is, once you insert an intermediate party between you and the customer, you screw up the whole stuff. That's exactly what happened with the Dotcom Bubble, wherein every startup was trying to reach you and me with no clue on how do it, whilst every established firm was selling its products roadmap to other established firms with even-greater products roadmap. Anecdote (may I disappear right away from my captain chair if I lie here) : back in november 2000, I heard of a potential deal of 1 billion USD between Nortel and Agilent Technologies. 1 billion USD. For a company (Agilent Technologies) who did $11B for its first year of existence.
The actual turmoil has been caused by the very same defective link with the customer - read : the house' s owner. Watch the video :
Thanks to Garr Reynolds of PresentationZen for the heads up. By the way, why such a video on a blog which aims at everything "presentation" ? Simply because this explanation of a very complex process is made very simple. Mr Hirsch proves that once you master your topic, you don't need Powerpoint. Give me a paperboard, and I'll explain you Fiber Optics ;-)
*post-scriptum : I'm still looking for any information, link, contact name, whatever, on this french researcher who published a study back in september 2003, on the fractals applied to Economy. Back then, the guy simply announced the crisis we're enjoying (joke) today, saying that the downturn is going to be harder and longer than the one we've seen in 2000.
Of course, I'm talking about sex here. Weird : this blog got a hit from a search result made from a website that is definitely not about Fiber Optics, iPhone, Broadband, or whatever Vilnius thing.
The query ? "Wild Wide". It appears that the tags my friend Andrew uses for his posts are "Wild Wide West" and "Wild Wild West".
Now I see which kind of application would become the famous long-expected "Killer App" on FTTH networks ;-)
On Tuesday, the Grenelle du Très Haut Débit will be held in Paris, during the fast-growing Odebit tradeshow & conference event.
I'll attend, on behalf of my boss Jean-Pierre Jambes of the Pau Greater Area. Being a rep of the Pau Broadband Country is a fantastic honor to me, since I've started my career 25 years ago hearing people claiming that Fiber To The Home was the Future. The Future is now, and it takes place as well in Pau.
If you're looking for a city where you can help changing the World thanks to Broadband, don't hesitate to stop by.
* [update 09/20] Jean-Michel Billaut, the man who is at the origin of the PBC Pau Broadband Country network.
Born in 2003 and operational since 2005, PBC is still the largest FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home network here in France, with 42,000+ houses passed (15,000 under construction over the next 30 months) and 8,000 active subscribers to date.
The adoption cycle seems to be accelerating with a growth rate of 22 new subscribers a day - that is 30 more per week than last spring. The only limitation factor : there's not enough OSP technicians to make the job (hence the need for a "local" training facility, by the way...).
Whilst the french community is busy preparing the Grenelle du Très Haut Débit, where some members of the French Government will (hopefully) unveil its plans for fibering (hopefully) the country, others are working hard to make things real.
Congratulations and all the best to Geoff Daily, the organizer of this fantastic event for all of us evangelists of broadband, open neutral networks.
I've embedded the interview of Terry Huval, director of LUS Lafayette Utility Systems, by Geoff, for you to get a flavor of what's going on in the US those days.
Ed. note : I can't stop thinking about the situation if Napoleon didn't sold Louisiana to the US two hundred years ago. Maybe France would have been the true leader of the Broadband communities movement...
No, this domain name isn't mine, unfortunately ! That's a french blog on Fiber-To-The-Home and related stuff held by proactive insiders.
Shall you read/speak french, "fibre-optique-france.com" is worth bookmarking and subscribing.
Earlier this week, YouTube added Close Caption to its features set. As lots of people around the planet, I've been waiting for it since months- not that I'm deaf myself (at least not according to my last check-up last June), but I like to think from the end-user side.
According to TechCrunch, "[this] will not only allow videos to appeal more directly to foreign audiences, but will give YouTube excellent data for searching videos and targeting ads to them."
Go to the YouTube to read the whole announcement :
Here at YouTube, we're always trying to find new ways to enrich your
viewing experience and to help video creators reach a wider audience.
As part of this goal, we've added a new captioning feature which allows
you to give viewers a deeper understanding of your video. Captions can
help people who would not otherwise understand the audio track to
follow along, especially those who speak other languages or who are
deaf and hard of hearing.
You can add captions to one of your videos by uploading a closed caption file using the "Captions and Subtitles" menu on the editing page. To add several captions to a video, simply upload multiple files. If you want to include foreign subtitles in multiple languages, upload a separate file for each language. There are over 120 languages to choose from and you can add any title you want for each caption. If a video includes captions, you can activate them by clicking the menu button located on the bottom right of the video player. Clicking this button will also allow viewers to choose which captions they want to see.
Some of our partners have already started using captions to offer you a better understanding of their videos (even with the audio turned off):
- BBC Worldwide: captions are provided in five different languages on this clip from Top Gear.
- CNET: tech product reviews from CNET's Crave blog.
- UC Berkeley: footage from the Opencast Project Open House.
- MIT: full lectures on subjects like Physics.
- Gonzodoga: English subtitles on this awesome Japanese animation.
We hope captions will serve to tighten the YouTube community by bringing together international users from different cultures.
We're excited to see what kinds of fun and creative uses for captions you'll be coming up with for your videos!
I read the TechCrunch article and the YouTube post twice : I haven't seen any mention of hearing impairment, whilst this Close Captioning system is the perfect tool to give access to videos to the deaf people, right ?
Then I googled "YouTube closed caption" (btw : I used Ubiquity for this : fast & easy): only three out of the ten sites on the first page are citing disabled people as the target users of this new feature. That's Media Bullseyes, CNet' Webware, and - no surprise, provided the name of the site : 4HearingLoss.
IMHO, that's really not much. Lucky Web 2.0 key players : they suffer no disease...
A New Yorker artist and scientist, Harris is leading an outstanding project : "We Feel Fine".
It's all about people' s feelings. Amazingly captivating. Just this little warning : it's so captivating that you may end up spending the whole day exploring the Web through Harris and his team' s eyes. Quite a nice way to forget the rude reality of the daily life at the office ;-)
Whilst my friend Andrew decided to go to FOD Fiber Optics Devices Ltd, some of his colleagues at the IIT Institute of information Technologies of Minsk, Belarus, decided to create their own firm : OptixSoft.
A unique start-up of its kind, OptixSoft provides outsourced R&D services to the Fiber Optics Test & Measurement industry :
To give you an idea of OptixSoft' s capabilities, CEO Mike Ziuzin developed a few years ago a project of his own : a *pocket-OTDR*, based on a micro test probe (the "OTDR" per se) and a Pocket-PC. WiFi, BlueTooth, and miniaturization : the right package for an FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home tester...
You can contact OptixSoft by email at : email@example.com.
Alex Che, software expert, waits for your twitts here on Twitter
I visited IIT a few years ago. It was like if I were playing "Back To The Future" : those folks were using pretty aged equipments, things that we Frenchies got at the university back in the early 80's. And those guys were doing absolute jewels. Out of almost nothing, at least for someone like myself who has been working with the big T&M vendors such as HP/Agilent and NetTest for years.
Since this visit, I'm convinced that this team is capable of miracles. May The Force of the T&M be with them ;-)
Dear FiberGeneration Readers : I have the very pleasure to introduce my friend Andrew Luzgin to you.
A Belarus native, Andrew recently moved to Lithuania for a new job. A 200-km-only trip, but a giant quantum leap for someone who lived in a typical former USSR type of country until his 40's.
Since a couple of months, Andrew is discovering a brand new world, both on the business and the private sides. That's why I've asked him to share his once-in-a-lifetime experience with you.
Today is Andrew' s first day as author on this blog. Please forgive his not-so-Oxford english, and enjoy his vision of life. I am convinced that you will learn a lot from Andrew, as I do since three years we are in touch almost every day.
The 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremonies have been the most stunning/impressive/jaw dropping I and probably billions of other people in the Galaxy today ever saw. The final fireworks said it all : China is ready.
With this absolutely unique event, China just has demonstrated its power to the entire planet. They master the Technology, they know the true means of Innovation, and they know how to execute a Life or Death strategic plan.
Maybe a few (thousands) people outside of Asia knew it already - have you ever dealt with a Chinese businessman ? Good luck, Dude ! Now, starting today 08/08/08, the whole World is aware.
One could not expect something else from the nation who counts Sun Tzu among her children.
David Fisher of What Is Noise has a must-read article on Customer Service via Social Media : "How NOT to handle Customer Service via Social Media". Shall you use Twitter or any other Web 2.0 tool to keep in touch with your customers, or shall you be still running an Enterprise 1.0 type of company, the 12 points listed are the very key requirements for any efficient/successful/committed Customer Care/Support/Service center.
Thanks to my own experience with building a such a service within the Optical Network Test division at Agilent Technologies *** years ago (hey, 1999-2000, that was even before the SMS became mainstream ;-), I would add a 13th one : Apologize even when that's your customer who's faulty. Because you're the one who brought the product to the customer.
thanks to Jean-Luc Raymond for the heads-up.
Since last week and the latest Firefox 3 update (3.0.1), I can't get Feedly running any longer. That's a real pitty for me, as I consider Feedly as the best RSS feed reader so far - for once, you can design your own online newspaper at a fingersnap.
Unfortunately, the automatic FX update stopped the service. No chance to re-install the add-on : "The feedly 1.0b3 could not be installed because it is not compatible with Firefox 3.0.1."
So after several attempts, I decided to call on Feedly' support. I discovered the Get Satisfaction service : technical support the Web 2.0 way. Absolutely stunning, for it is the one place you as an end-user can go and call for help on most of your favorite tools and apps. The list of companies currently being supported by Get Satisfaction is definitely impressive, from the smallest newest startup (say... Feedly for instance) to the biggest largest company (say Apple). Twitter seems to be the number one in terms of questions and support team.
Among a few other Web 2.0 apps, Get Satisfaction is typically the sort of tool which every single Enterprise 1.0 should adopt and integrate immediately. It's a fantastic way to keep in touch with your end-users, by proving them how much you care about their satisfaction.
Actually, this type of service is based on an old concept made modern. In this case, it's Usenet and its numerous FAQs and discussion boards at the Web 2.0 sauce. Nothing new ("the people-powered customer service for absolutely everything") but all new (the ease of use and the flexibility).
As soon as I get my own startup up and running, Get Satisfaction will be part of the toolkit.
ps : my own dashboard is here.
Second Life is dead. Google just launched its own "virtual world" platform : Lively. The difference with SL ? Lively is entirely Web-based. You don't need to install and run a standalone piece of software, as opposed to Second Life (how many of us have been rapidly fed up launching SL ?...). To play with Lively, you just stay with your favorite browser, aka Firefox 3 (it runs with IE too).
Lively is truly the signal most of us were waiting for to go investigate the potential of Virtual Worlds for business. And it's made by Google.
For a complete review on Lively here by Techcrunch.
Download Lively here. That's the only thing that sucks, by the way : there's no Mac version for the time being, although Mac users are among the most efficient beta testers because we easily become early adopters...
Do you know Andrew Luzgin ? I'm a friend of him. He's a friend of mine. Not the Facebook style of "friends", see what I mean ? A true friend.
Andrew and I have met years ago, before the Bubble. Virtually. On Usenet. We were discussing Fiber Optics stuff thru the sci.optics.fiber newsgroup.
A few years later, when I was with HP/Agilent, I got to test a fiber documentation software developed by Andrew and his peers at the IIT Institute of Information Technology of Minsk, Belarus. We Agilent didn't go further with this software, but Jim Hayes of Fotec (at this time) did.
Fast forward to November 2005 : working with Sunrise Telecom who were outsourcing its optical handhelds to IIT, I visited Minsk for the first and only time to date. Thanks to a missed connection flight in Vienna, a lost envelop containing 150 USD cash, and a Mickey Mouse type of manager, I did land in Belarus at night and ganz alone. Right into the deep cold winter of... the former USSR. To make it short, I almost had was to spend the night in the airport to go home the next morning, should Andrew not show up with enough american money to set me free of the Belarus' customs.
Thanks to Andrew, I had one of the most enjoyable evenings in a foreign country in my life.
Since then, we kept in touch. Virtually. Thru Skype. Among other business-related things, I've coached Andrew on the "Western World Way Of Life". Until I convinced him to look for a new job outside of Belarus. Hey, this guy was able to design one of the most technically advanced optical tester... out of nothing. The equipments in the IIT' labs ? Dated 1980 or so, see what I mean ? My take was : if Andrew is able to create little jewels in Belarus, he'll be able to create big marvels in the Western World.
I've worked on that for a year or more, helping Andrew to feel comfortable with the idea of leaving Minsk for the Unknown Regions.
Since last month, Andrew lives in Vilnius, Lithuania. He's working at FOD Fiber Optic Devices, a Test equipment maker supplying the big guys in the Test & Measurement industry with components and OEM/ODM products.
Vilnius is only 130 miles away from Minsk, but it's a totally new World for my friend.
That's why I've asked Andrew to share his Once-In-A-Lifetime experience with you. Stay tuned for Andrew Luzgin' diary here on FiberGeneration. The first posts are ready, we just have to... tune Andrew's english a little bit ;-)
post-scriptum : have you noticed how the Belarus map is empty ?...
That is an amazing success story for the young start-up, formed by my old yet always up-to-date friend Georges Pantanelli and some of his developers.
Since the IM-T' journey is quite an unusual adventure, I've asked Georges a couple of months ago to post its diary here on the FiberGeneration blog. Now that they're WindowsLived, he has a bit more spare time to share it with you. Stay tuned for Mister Georges' s first post - due sometime by next week, as they say in the Web 2.0 area -)
post-scriptum : shall you know somebody able to help IM-T to get in touch with the US press, you can contact Georges at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Rumor is spreading around the Test & Measurement small world : some interesting news coming soon from Sunrise Telecom, San Jose, California, and its swiss subsidiary.