Just-in-time (JIT) training for entrepreneurs

I think that the exponential increase of on-demand video (, Yahoo! video) will allow entrepreneurs to learn on-the-fly from some incredible sources. The problem with Youtube is that it takes time to find quality videos, like this Sellingpower interview of SAP Americas CEO, Bill McDermont.The Stanford’s Educations Corner is an entrepreneur’s best friend. It contains wisdom, knowledge, tried-and-tested experience from very well-known and experienced business people like John Doerr (Kerner Perkins), Carly Fiorina (former HP CEO), and Guy Kawasaki (Garage Ventures). This month’s Futurist click-of-the-month is This is a great example of a site aggregating some quality videos.

We expect to disseminate science to the widest possible audience, thereby bringing the YouTube generation–who are the next generation of leading scientists–the best science using a medium they have adopted and use on a daily basis,” says University of California, San Diego, pharmacy professor Phillip E. Bourne, one of the directors of the SciVee project.

Apple’s iTunes now contains a section called uTunes. uTunes contains audio lectures from prominent universities like MIT, Stanford, Duke and Berkley.Another interesting site is On this site you’ll find lots of very well articulated business presentations. Again, you’ll have to search a little to get gems like this one:View on SlideShareWhich sites do you use for your JIT training?

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Switch to WordPress

Today I decided to switch from Apple’s iWeb to WordPress for my business blogging.  I will migrate the old blog entries over time.  Here is the link to my old blog:

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(RED), ONE&7 are making a difference…

One Campaign

Apple’s recent launch of the iPod Nano (PRODUCT) RED triggered this blog entry. Technology makes our lives much easier and more productive, but technology can also make a huge difference in less advantaged people’s lives in the rest of the world. In the follow paragraphs I list a number of interesting and worthwhile projects aimed at making the world a better place. Some of them leverage the best technology in the world to accomplish this. Some charities worthy of support…

  • (PRODUCT) RedBono & kie is behind this again. They are convincing iconic companies/brands like Gap, Apple and Converse to sell (RED) products and to contribute a percentage of the proceeds of the sales of (RED) products to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Africa. It seems to be catching on. They are even on and Bono recently launched (RED) in the US on Oprah. Buy some (RED) products!
  • ONE – Make Poverty History!Bono is also behind this initiative. It is a way for everyone to show their support to fight AIDS and poverty globally and specifically in Africa. Register and show your support.
  • What are we doing about Africa?“I think our age will be remembered for three things — the digital revolution, the war against terror, and what we did, or did not do to put out the fires in Africa. Some say we can’t afford to, I say we can’t afford not to.”Bono If you want to learn more about Africa then you can find good info on Wikipedia. The CIA World Factbook is always a good source of information. South Africa has a number of websites with great information. I prefer: South Africa – Alive with Possibility. You may also use a site like GivenGain to contribute to a charity of your choice.
  • One laptop per Child — WOW, now this is daring! One of the founders of MIT Media Labs, Nicholas Negroponte announced an initiative in January 2005 to develop a $100 laptop and give it to 100 million children in the first year of the project. Security is a huge concern and is currently getting a lot of media attention. The OS is Linux and it includes cool software like the Squeak based graphical environment eToys. Smalltalk is finally available for the masses — smile!Negroponte’s mantra is: “It’s an education project, not a laptop project.” I really…really hope this project is successful.
  • International Justice Mission — Did you know that 27 million men, women and children are still held in bonded slavery TODAY! I cannot! These guys are doing something about it. They go into some of the worst places in the world and physically rescue victims. They are lawyers and use their knowledge to do all the legal paperwork to free numerous men, women and children. They make a difference.

Closer to home (if you live in Atlanta, Georgia) you can get directly involved with the following organizations. They do powerful work to make a difference in the lives of the last, lost, and the least.

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Ruby on Rails – Build a blogging engine in 15 minutes!

With Ruby on Rails (RoR) it is possible to develop a blogging engine in 15 minutes. Watch this 15 minute video demo-ing RoR. The Ruby language was developed by Yukihiro Matsumoto (Matz) in 1994. According to Matz:

“Ruby is the interpreted scripting language for quick and easy object-oriented programming. It has many features to process text files and to do system management tasks (as in Perl). It is simple, straight-forward, extensible, and portable.”

I have to admit that I’ve not heard of Ruby until recently. I programmed a lot of Smalltalk and C++ in my former life as a programmer and Ruby seems to be a great OO language with great reflective capabilities. Matz also mentions that Ruby was inspired by Eiffel and Ada — languages that I studied as a student in the late 80’s and then forgot about. Reflective features and MVC are now commonplace. These features were very esoteric in the 80’s.Well back to Ruby on Rails. This framework was developed by David Heinemeier Hansson and released in July 2004. David is from Denmark and a partner in the company. I really appreciate the simply, yet powerful design of the 37signals web applications. Do yourself a favor and learn a few things from these guys.RoR is a framework to quickly develop and deploy enterprise web applications based on Web2.0 principles. It uses Ruby as a scripting language and quickly and easily generates a web application framework. You can quickly link this application to a database back-end. The beauty of RoR is the interaction with the application while developing and the rapid deployment when you are done. Rapid prototyping is back! Rapid prototyping or agile programming involving the user is a great way to quickly develop an application that is highly usable and valuable. I really enjoyed Hasso Plattner’s (SAP co-founder) recent keynote at SAPPHIRE 2006 in Orlando called (re) design (scroll to the bottom of the page for Hasso’s keynote).At some point I would like to compare RoR with SAP’s Webdynpro technology. You can find an interesting discussion on this topic and AJAX on SAP’s SDN website. This is your first hint that my plan is to relate some of the new Web2.0 technologies back to enterprise software, specifically SAP. Watch this space…More links: Attend a RoR conference in a city close to you. You can also find a number of books on Ruby and RoR on Amazon, e.g., Ruby and Ruby on Rails.Oct 26, 2007 update: Ruby and Rails are now standard in Apple’s OSX LeopardPlease give me your personal experience using Ruby or Ruby on Rails.[amtap book:isbn=0974514055][amtap book:isbn=0977616606][amtap amazon:asin=B000FK88JK]

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Using Google Spreadsheets

In an earlier post I mentioned Google Spreadsheets. I decided to use this web app for a fairly detailed spreadsheet recently. My initial comments are:The good…

  • The web-app is fairly responsive and you can easily and quickly update a spreadsheet. Navigation within a spreadsheet is fairly snappy.
  • Smaller spreadsheets load quickly from the Google site. Smaller spreadsheets also load quickly from your local machine.
  • To format a cell, change the font, and create a function is very initiative and easy.
  • Spreadsheet navigation is quick, easy, and initiative.
  • It’s very easy to share a file to collaborate on a spreadsheet.

The bad…

  • Maybe this is a Mac problem, however I couldn’t see a cursor when editing a cell. This makes it very difficult to edit a function, especially very complicated functions.
  • Uploading a file of any significance size takes loooooooooonnnnng. I have a 6Mbps connection. It’s still very slow. It’s not really practical to work like this.
  • Ok, so you developed an elaborate spreadsheet and now you want to print it. Well, the printing functions are VERY limited in this version. The only way to print a spreadsheet is to render it in HTML and then to print the web page. Not the most powerful way to print. The rendering is also very bad.

Current assessment: Don’t delete your Microsoft Excel application just yet!I would like to hear about your experiences with Google Spreadsheets.

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Apple does it again!

This week Apple announced a lot of great products at WWDC in San Francisco during Steve Job’s keynote. The one product that impressed me the most is a feature called “Time Machine”. Time Machine will be part of the upcoming Leopard OSX release. It provides full automatic backups and phenomenal and very intuitive recovery of any data object in OSX. This is a great example of a company taking a very tedious process and reinventing it in a way that makes it accessible and easy to use for everyone. It’s based on some very cool technology called, “Core Animation”.

Disclosure: I love Apple products! I have a PowerBook G4 for work stuff and an iMac at home. In fact I don’t have a Windows machine anymore. I do have one lonely Linux box running a great operating system called, Ubuntu.

After tasting the fruit in 2003 doing video editing on an iMac, I converted all my machines to Apple. Btw, my first computer ever was an Apple II with two 128k floppy drives — really hi-tech stuff!

Why do you still use Windows?

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