David Tebbutt Joins Open Research Firm

Which brings me on to the latest addition to the Freeform family. Against the above background, we are really chuffed to have one of the most well respected commentators and forward thinkers on the IT industry come to join us – David Tebbutt.

Freeform is lucky to get David, in my interactions with him I always found his insight, enthusiasm, constructive skepticism, and style most welcoming. This is further evidence that the analyst side of the business is once again getting interesting as the traditional barriers are breaking down and bloggers who rise to the top get picked off for their insight and expertise.

Congatulations to David!

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Bill Walsh, 1931-2007

Bill Walsh died today. If you grew up in the Bay Area in the 1980′s you grew up with Bill Walsh leading the dominant football team of the era… a team not of superstar free agents but of a team that won only 2 games in their first season. Who knew then that Walsh had assembled a team of future hall of famers.

Amazingly, Wikipedia is already updated and the news broke only about 90 minutes ago.

I’ll remember Walsh for something else altogether, he and his wife have over the years tirelessly given the use of their home in Atherton to the Vista Center (previously known as the Peninsula Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired) for an annual food and wine auction that raised a significant amount of the funding for the organization.

Jeff Barr’s Google Recruiting Driveby

Jeff Barr posts about his experience with Google’s recruiters:

Last year Google tried to convince me to join their ranks. I had a nice trip to Mountain View, a pleasant day of interviews, and a glimpse inside of their campus. All pretty cool. I ended up shutting down the process between the “we really want to hire you” and the “here’s the offer” phases, for any number of reasons that I won’t get in to tonight. Ok, just one of them.

I have heard a couple of interesting accounts of Google’s internal systems that paint a less than flattering picture of the company. First and foremost, they spent a lot of time with Workday only to pass on them because they wanted their operational systems to be on-premise… imagine the irony of Google not selecting a vendor because their solution is hosted.

Next up was Successfactors and Google passed on them for the same reason and then built their own talent management system that is leaving the Googlers who have to use it less than pleased. It would appear that their recruiting system, based on Jeff Barr’s account and those of the commenters on his post, similarly disappoints.

It’s not uncommon for high growth companies to play catch up in the back office, even if they are a 10 year old company, so I don’t have much reason to discount these anecdotes, but anecdotes they are and I can’t corroborate them.

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Let’s Count the Hypocrisies

UPDATE: Migden was driving a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, not a Ford Escape… guess she isn’t into supporting U.S. businesses (with taxpayer money). At any rate, my point #3 still stands because California included Toyota in the lawsuit I mentioned. BTW, the Highlander replaced the State purchased 2005 Cadillac STS that Migden was driving up until recently… and was involved in another accident in last year when she ran into a bus in SF.

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Carole Migden, California State Senator, gets into a fender bender while weaving in and out of traffic in her state issued SUV and talking on her cell phone:

1) Migden voted for legislation that would have outlawed talking on a cell phone while driving in California, arguing that it was unsafe, which in her case it clearly is. Actually, I should be clearer about this, the law requires handsfree use beginning next year, so it will be illegal to talk on a cell phone without a handsfree option while driving… therefore there is no excuse for her lapse of judgement here.

2) Migden spoke at a ceremony praising the introduction of the 1-800-TELL-CHP phone service for reporting erratic drivers… the same service that was ultimately used to report her erratic driving prior to the accident she was caused.

3) It would be tempting to also point out that Midgen was driving an SUV, but it was a Ford Escape Hybrid. However, there is still some irony in the fact that the State has sued Ford and other automakers claiming that their vehicles are gross emissions polluters while at the same time acquiring vehicles that they claim are not available.

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In Memoriam : Robert Petersen

This is a little late but I just read about the passing of Robert Petersen. To many of you Petersen is more recognizable as the founder of Petersen Publishing, the publisher of 27 monthly magazines reaching 43 million people when it was sold in 1996. Of course, many of you will only recognize Petersen Publishing as the publisher of Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines.

Petersen was a pretty amazing man beyond his publishing empire. Serving as commissioner for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, on the National Board of Directors for Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and on the Los Angeles Library Commission, Petersen also supported Los Angeles area music and art organizations. Petersen had served on the board of the NRA, and owned one of the finest firearm collections in the world which was on public display only once in 1993.

Donations can be made to the Petersen Automotive Museum.

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The Richness of Life

It is sad to read this quote at the end of a story about Pulitzer Prize winning author David Halberstam‘s death today in Menlo Park in an auto accident. Halberstam, who lived in NYC, was 73.

"It’s been a wonderful life," he said. "Actually, when I think about my career I am sometimes stunned. I’m stunned by the richness of it. It gave me all the things I ever wanted. I loved being a reporter."

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Quote of the Week

"Basically, I show up for life and serve"
- Spc. Max Ramsey

Ramsey has made 50 parachute jumps since losing his left leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq. I saw an interview on television with him last night and was struck by his optimism and fortitude. This guy is not a victim, he made that clear. Here’s another story I found on this extraordinary person:

This certainly wasn’t part of his life plan. "It became the plan regardless, so I immediately got myself into the mode of making sure I could step out of this whole thing and conquer the disability the best I could."

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Kathy Sierra – A Tipping Point?

I was tempted to not write anything about the Kathy Sierra death threats, after all the entire scandal is covered in a huge number of blogs (crossing over to political blogs as well, Instapundit linked to it last night). However, to stay quiet under the dislaimer that “well I don’t know Kathy but I do read (and have linked) to her blog,” is to be complicit so I feel the need to add my voice to this raging debate, which of course is pretty one sided because no rational or sane person can excuse the behavior that led to this.

Let’s be clear about one thing, the person that made these postings on the blog in question is troubled. There are no jokes that can be made about this serious episode, what was written about Kathy reflects the inner workings of someone who has really serious issues and I hope he/she gets help before prison. It doesn’t take a psychologist to see that this is a person full of rage who is hanging on by a thread.

Many blog posts are commenting on the concept of anonymity in the internet of 2007 and beyond. Personally, I think it’s a concept that has outlived it’s utility but I also understand, and accept I guess, that this is not something that can just be taken away. Anonymity has a place, no question about it, but it’s not just applied where that utility is valued but rather as the norm.

For years I have posted comments on other blogs and in forums under my real name because I figured that attaching my name to my online identity kept me honest. In other words, I wouldn’t say things to people online that I wouldn’t say to their faces when my real name and email were being exposed. Anyone who writes a blog with even limited exposure has experienced flame comments in the threads, and mark my word when I say that they are always posted under a pseudonym. What does that tell you?

If you are as disturbed by the Kathy Sierra threats as I am, then do something about it. Practice not anonymity in your daily web travels, practice legitimate identity. Let’s start a trend where there are two communities in the blogosphere, those who operate in the bright sunshine and those that hide in the dark corners. There are legitimate scenarios for anonymity but let us take responsibility as a community for making those cases exceptional rather than the rule.

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In Memoriam, Cathy Seipp

Cathy Seipp died today after a long bout with lung cancer, and this is where I add that she was a lifelong non-smoker… in reading her posts over the years I was surprised to learn that lung cancer among non-smokers, especially women, is on the rise.

Respected by bloggers and commentators left and right, Seipp was a well read conservative blogger from LA. I remember once a few years ago I exchanged e-mails with her and my eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw her name in my inbox. I gather from reading many of the posts about her (she’s ranked above Paris Hilton on Technorati today), that she pretty much took every opportunity to meet people, even if just virtually.

It’s been very sad these last couple of days to read the posts from her daughter and friends on her blog and others as she lay at Cedars in her final hours. There’s something very uncomfortable, at times, about this realtime world we live in.

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