I have been working on/with Blockchain or Disitributed Ledger Techncology(DLT)* for some time, as have many, many people inside Oracle. I have also been talking to A LOT of our customers, because when a technology has the possibility to make huge transformations to the way we do business, collaboration is critical. I love that I am able to not only be part of the conversation on how the technology evolves, but also how enterprises will be able to benefit from it and how it will impact existing applications and business processes in the short, medium and long term.
I am focusing on some new things here at Oracle. I’ll be dedicating a lot more of my time looking into emerging technology trends and how we should be applying them to the enterprise ERP or financial management space.
So how does this effect this blog?
I’ve been blogging for many years on Intercompany, Financial Management and ERP, mixing in some general technology posts. Now I plan to start writing about new technology trends a lot more. I have always been interested in this, but now I have more time to get deeper into it and I find blogging about things helps me understand them better and get feedback and insight from others, so it is a win-win. I have enjoyed all the comments on the blog and words of encouragement that people have given me in person, that has been a huge motivation to continue writing (even tho I have been posting as frequently as I would like the last few years) and respond to comments. I hope that feedback will continue.
So now I have got this announcement out of the way, I can get started… watch this space.
I promised my 9 year old son that I would run the school 5K fun run with him, little did I know it would clash with Oracle OpenWorld. I had a 5k run at 10am in Belmont and then a presentation to the OAUG GL Special Interest Group at 11am 20 mile sNorth in San Francisco. I was worried about the pace my son could do but we managed to average 9.5 minute miles even with a stop to tie a shoe lace and a lot of traffic of all ages and speeds. We had just enough time snap the picture below and then he went for the pancake breakfast with the rest of his friends and I ran another half mile to my car and headed to the Moscone Center. No time to change and straight up on stage, with 10 minutes to spare before I was due to speak. After that I caught up with a colleague who’s here from the UK over lunch and was home in time to upgrade my son’s home minecraft server to 1.8, write a blog and check on my demos for tomorrow’s Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) EXPO.
later this evening I was pleased to see this tweet from Steve Miranda, our EVP who is also balancing his heavy workload at OpenWorld with family commitments too.
So all in all a good day, here’s hoping the rest of the week is just as enjoyable.
Tomorrow Oracle is hosting a Bay Area Heart Walk at it’s HQ campus and it should be a huge event, not only raising valuable funds but also raising awareness of the importance of a heart healthy lifestyle. Since the beginning of this year I have been doing regular walking meetings and have enjoyed the benefits
Tomorrow Oracle is hosting a Bay Area Heart Walk at it’s HQ campus and it should be a huge event, not only raising valuable funds but also raising awareness of the importance of a heart healthy lifestyle. Since the beginning of this year I have been doing regular walking meetings and have enjoyed the benefits to both my health and my productivity. I also found many other people already doing walking meetings and others who have been inspired to start them. I’ve really enjoyed the overwhelmingly positive responses and encouragement.
Highlights of the event include the Semi Official Oracle house band, Scope Creep, check out this YouTube clip, you may recognize some of the faces including my boss on drums, who I can confirm does not appreciate my joke – what do you call somebody with no talent who hangs with musicians? – answers in the comment section please.
I will be walking with ‘Team Erb’ led by the energetic and enthusiastic (except when it comes to twitter) Janine Erb, who is one of the singers in the YouTube clip above. We have close to 100 people in the team and I’m looking forward to walking with and talking to people I have known and worked with for a long time and also making some new friends. If you are there tomorrow, come and say hi. I’ll take some pictures and probably tweet during the event.
Finally, if you want to donate you can follow this link, but probably more importantly spend some time educating yourself, the American Heart Association is one place to start.
Last week I attended a Wearables Design Jam organized by Ultan (@ultan) from the Oracle UX team (a future post is coming on the event) and since then I have been thinking about what makes a successful wearable device. The most successful devices in the marketplace seem to be the fitness trackers and I have had great benefit from my fitbit, not least of all the inspiration for walking meetings. A fitness tracker is not a new idea (I joke that a fitbit is just a $100 pedometer), but the wearable devices today make tracking your fitness so much easier. No need to keep diaries of your activities, everything is there for you in a dashboard with all sorts of interesting analytics, goal setting, alerts etc.
The GoPro has similarities, it is a small personal camcorder with only memory, no tape and no screen for viewing, similar to the Flip camera which Cisco bought and then killed and many other cameras. However it takes action videos really well, with very little effort and is pretty much indestructible so you can take it anywhere. They produce professional quality video and photos including time lapse videos, fast frame rates for smooth slow motion and have an ultra wide field of view so you rarely miss any action. You can also attach them to your body, bike and other helmets, cars and of course surfboards. My model (Hero 3+ Black edition) has WiFi so I can control it from my iPhone or iPad and grab content from it easily, although that does drain the battery fast.
If you haven’t already seen it, you must check out the Time Lapse video I took with the GoPro of the Team USA Americas Cup yacht being installed at Oracle HQ. This was around 9,000 photos taken over 50+ hours compressed into a 2 minute video. I have also strapped it to my car to capture a journey down the highway 1, strapped it to the outside of my car, strapped it to a remote control car, strapped it to myself and my kids in a swimming pool, to my Son’s bike and to my daughter’s wheeled shoes. Now I am trying to think of some enterprise applications of this amazing device, watch this space.
Finally, I’m embedding a shot from my car, especially for Jake (@jkuramot) who always likes to know how my car is doing, plus a few other interesting (IMHO) shots.
I was reading a post from my colleague John Cartan this morning about his experience with the the Narrative Clip which is a smaller device, intended to be used for life logging. It is worn all the time and captures a picture every 30 seconds. The experience did not seem to be great, but I think a GoPro, altho a little bigger would be much better for this purpose. I could imagine wearing it all day at a conference say, or in a series of meetings, brainstorming sessions etc. it would give a really good replay of events. I will probably try some of this in the coming weeks, just to see how interesting it is.
Maker Faire is a popular event here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve been going with my kids for several years now and all of us look forward to it every year. I describe it as everything from embroidery to fire breathing robots, anything you can make is there and everyone is passionate about making stuff and everyone enjoys sharing their passion.
However this year I was there as staff with the Apps Lab who were providing a DIY activity for the Java team who are a big supporter of Maker Faire, Jake explains in detail in his blog. My summary is we showed use of embedded java on a Raspberry Pis to control a variety of devices with input from other devices, for example I could use a motion sensor to turn on a fan, or send a tweet or send an SMS message. It was an interesting experience showing this off to people, explaining what we mean by the internet of things and seeing people’s reaction. There are a huge range of ages and types of people at Maker Fairs, so it was cool to see young and old alike enjoying making things happen. The most interesting thing to see first hand is how young children (as young as 4 or 5) can just figure out how to do things with minimal guidance and in fact seem to prefer to explore on their own, older people are much quicker to get help or listen to me explain rather than do it. I have no idea what this means, if anything, but it was interesting to me at least.
On Friday I realized the America’s Cup yacht was going to be installed at Oracle HQ over the weekend so I went home and got my GoPro camera and set it up to take a picture every 30 seconds. For some reason it shut off on Saturday morning, when the helicopter brought the hull over the building, but I still think the footage came out pretty well. Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments below.
(Pro Tip: It’s worth popping out the embedded video and going fullscreen to get the full effect)
Since I started regular walking meetings at the beginning of the year, I have been surprised at the interest and response I’ve had. My previous co-worker from the early AGIS days, Jake Kuramoto (now of TheAppsLab fame) penned a nice blog post about it, called Good Idea: Walking Meetings. I was interviewed by @Ultan from the Oracle UX team for the Usable Apps Blog, which included a picture of myself walking with Floyd Teter, of ORCLville fame, who is a long time walking meetings proponent and gave me some encouragement and advice. I was also interviewed for a travel magazine, for a June edition, so we will see if I survive the editing process and make it into that article.
This article from @thefastcompany, which had the picture above really resonated with me. I feel my meetings are more productive when walking; I seem to be able to remember things without referring to lists or taking notes and the conversations flow faster. the picture might give a clue why. I had a great phone conversation with Russell Clayton (@ProfessorRWC) after commenting on his great piece on Harvard Business Review blog about exercise promoting work-life balance. He is also interested in the how walking meetings can promote better working, I am looking forward to hear more from him on that, because I have anecdotal evidence, but would be interested in scientific research on that aspect of walking meetings.
Finally, the most pleasing aspect has been the response from my team and my colleagues. The enthusiasm and encouragement from them has made it a really positive experience.
So if you haven’t tried them yet, give it a go and tweet your experience and pictures using the hashtag #walkingmeetings
I gave notice that I was starting walking meetings for 2014 and now that I am three weeks in, it’s time for an update. The first thing that happened was I got a lot of support and encouragement right away, on twitter (check out #walkingmeetings), LinkedIn, via comments on the blog and email. However the most important reaction was from my team, they were very enthusiastic to try it and seem to embrace it wholeheartedly. I have 9 local direct reports and I shifted our weekly 30 minute one to one meetings to walking meetings, we have a beautiful location and climate here in Silicon Valley so getting out there is easy, although I did cancel one meeting when it was windy.
My prime motivation was to get more exercise and my fitbit statistics show I am walking between 4 and 6 miles a day now, up from 2 or 3 miles a day previously.
The meetings seem to be more productive, away from the distractions of interruptions from other people, emails and IM coming in we can actually talk through the issues we need to discuss, think about them clearly and agree on actions. In general each of us jots down the things we want to discuss on a scrap of paper before we set off. I can easily jot a reminder on my smart phone if I have an action I think I might forget. If we need to do something on a computer we just end at my office and spend a few minutes in front of it together, but you would be surprised how little we need this. We are a technology company, the stereotype is of geeks hunched over a computer in a darkened office surrounded by pizza boxes and empty Coke cans, but in reality most of a software engineer’s job is not about physically writing code, it is about solving problems, thinking, discussing, bouncing ideas off each other etc. Getting outdoors now and again is certainly conducive to this creative process.
So these are my early thoughts, more to come as we keep this going and if we ever get any rain this year I will see how I cope with that.
I always like to try new ideas so in 2014 I am going to give walking meetings a try. There are loads of articles available on this topic, my favorite starting point is this The Art of the Walking Meeting from 2008 by Ted Eytan. We are only six years late to the party, but better late than never. I am interested in how this works out, but I feel very excited that it will be a positive move. I have been complaining for a while I don’t have enough time to exercise and that I have too many meetings, so this seems like a win-win situation.
I’m going to hold all my weekly one-to-one meetings as walking meetings, we’ll circumnavigate the the Oracle Lake, which is about 2/3 mile and then if we need to sit on front of a computer for any items do that at the end in my office. I estimate it will give me close to 3 hours extra walking a week, which is not bad for a starting point but I can hope I can expand it if it works well.
As always I’d like to hear thoughts and opinions from all of you, so please use the comments section below.
UPDATE (2/6/14) : You can see my early thoughts on how this is going here