California Population Slows, Again – Worker Shortage Seen

Yet another news story about the state of education in California, although this one in the form of a story on how California’s population growth is slowing as people leave the state for opportunities and cost of living. The reporter on this piece points out that the state’s supply of college-educated workers is in doubt, but I would add that it’s not just college-educated that matters but qualified as well.

While we’re on the subject, not every kid is going to get a college education or put it to work for that matter, so the recent election that saw passage of a bond measure devoted to vocational training is a step in the right direction. Irrespective of what your views on college level education, the fact of the matter is that the world still requires cabinetmakers, steelworkers, electricians and tradespeople of all kinds – and these are proud jobs that pay well.

California no longer population magnet / High cost of living seen as culprit in driving people away:
These changes could leave California without the educated workforce it needs, in part because of the widening achievement gap among California students. The Public Policy Institute of California projects that by 2020, the state’s supply of college-educated workers won’t meet the state’s needs, said institute fellow Deborah Reed.

I also want to draw your attention to a fascinating report that was recently published by the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, a bipartisan and highly qualified group (check out the bios of the commission members).

The report, titled “Tough Choices or Tough Times” calls for radical overhaul of American K-12 education, including eliminating 11th and 12th grade, overhauling compensation and pension systems for administrators and teachers, and removing oversight from school boards.

Predictably, the plan was greeted by universal opposition from teacher unions and associations for school boards.


“Tough Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce” (National Center on Education and the Economy)

Google retreats back to Web 1.0

I was talking to Ross about this today and mentioned off hand that it’s not like Google is building a walled garden but rather putting barbed wire up to fence off what was a free range. We have been facing this issue with Google API in that we can drive the backend server functions but not the UI, or more specifically, embed the UI elements as components for reuse in our platform.

» Google retreats back to Web 1.0 | Software as services | ZDNet.com:

The quiet deprecation of Google’s original SOAP search API earlier this month, which has just come to light this week, is a revealing admission of Google’s single-minded reliance on advertising as a means of funding its continued growth and profitability. Put bluntly, it confirms Google’s abject failure to monetize its API except by the indirect mechanism of contextual advertising. Thus Google is now asking developers to sign up instead to an AJAX API, which presents ads on a user’s screen alongside the requested search results. That’s no use for the API mashups that Google’s SOAP search API was one of the first to popularize, long before the term ‘mashup’ existed.

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If Every Once in a While You Can’t Laugh at Terrorists…

Funny, no very funny (I called TBS’ support line to confirm).

The Dilbert Blog: Those al-Qaeda Taped Messages:

Am I the only one who thinks al-Zawahri has his own cubicle at al-Jazeera?

I imagine al-Zawahri coming to work every day with his turban and robe and plastic rifle, a cup of coffee in one hand, a copy of The Jihad Gazette tucked under his arm. The al-Jazeera station manager sees him and calls out, “Hey Showtime, we have a slow news day. Can you do one of those taped message thingees?”

So al-Zawahri takes his brown sheet and plastic rifle into the break room and tells the employees who are eating their figs to be quiet for a minute while he makes his recording.

» Enterprise 2.0 year in review | Enterprise Web 2.0

Dion wrote a good year in review post on the progress of enterprise 2.0.Personally, I’m a little disappointed that the term enterprise 2.0 seems to be limited to the use of social media within enterprise contexts because in my view this is about enabling a new generation of applications that straddle the collaboration and transaction divide in a user-centric way. In other words, give people transaction applications that they actually want to use because they solve problems bigger than entering a sales order or reworking a production schedule.

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It’s the Service, Stupid!

Sony could challenge Apple, but they won’t. Here’s why: the service will suck because it won’t have non-Sony produced content, be too expensive, and will no doubt be really difficult to use. Remember Sony’s other ITMS killer, Sony Connect?

I really dig my PSP and have often wondered by Sony didn’t market it as a media device, but once again I need to be reminded that this company never ceases to amaze for never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Sony to Challenge Apple — Will PSP Video Downloads Bear Fruit? – SeekingAlpha:

Sony will launch a video download service for its PlayStation Portable [PSP], likely in the first quarter next year. The service could challenge Apple’s iTunes.

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Shopping at Circuit City… virtually

I’ve tried Second Life and didn’t much take to it, but irrespective of that I think this virtual store that Circuit City is hosting is kind of dumb. First of all, I hate going to their stores to begin with, so why would I want to do that online as well, but more to the point of why they are doing it I really doubt better customer service is going to be a result. If they could do better customer service then I would hope we would be seeing in in the real world Circuit City first as opposed to the virtual Circuit City in Second Life.

However, the cost of doing this is no doubt pretty low so in terms of experimental value I could argue for it.

The Technology Chronicles : Shopping at Circuit City… virtually:

Add Circuit City to the growing number of businesses setting up shop in Second Life, the popular online virtual world developed by San Francisco’s Linden Labs.

In Memoriam : Al Shugart

It’s easy to forget that pioneers like Shugart literally formed the DNA that the Valley was built on, from the hard charging mentality formed out of a belief that anything was possible to the discarding of business traditions like wearing a tie to work. It’s sad to see a generation of entrepreneurs pass away, but only made more sad by the fact that few people under 35 in this business today would recognize the name Al Shugart and what he accomplished.

MercuryNews.com | 12/14/2006 | DISK DRIVE PIONEER LED SEAGATE:

But the life of the disk drive pioneer, who died Tuesday at 76, could hardly have been more complex: He epitomized the Silicon Valley play hard/work hard ethos, wearing Hawaiian shirts to the office even as he weathered decades of ups and downs in a notoriously cutthroat industry.

Management Series : Grab a New Ball

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of playing a round of golf at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, an annual tradition that is usually blessed by fantastic coastal sunshine but this year was dampened, literally, by a thick fog and heavy mist (or as I called it, pre-sun) conditions.

In stepping up to this nice little par 3 that goes over some water, I remarked to the other guys in my group that I was counseled by a really good golfer years ago that when playing over water like this the best thing to do is reach in your bag and grab a new ball. His point was that most golfers will take an old ball, or worse a found ball, out for this situation because if they lose it the loss will not be so bad. This hedging sets you up to fail because it predisposes you to accepting that you will lose the ball in the water.

On my drive home I was thinking that this is an apt metaphor for business because the most successful companies and people are the ones where everyone is “all in”. I suppose this is not to suggest that you don’t have fallback positions defined, or “plan b” as some would say, but rather that when you commit to a new strategy, product, or program you start out right by not allowing yourself the option of failing, or worse, preparing for failure.

I did grab a new ball on that par 3 and I did play it for par.