Link: Oracle’s Georges Saab on the Impact of Faster Java Releases

When the new six-month cadence was announced there was some talk about “release fatigue.” Have you seen that in the Java community?
It’s sort of like asking, if your kids had Christmas twice a year, do you think they’d experience “Christmas fatigue?” The parents might, I guess. What I’m hearing people say now is that they are seeing so much evidence that updating to 9 and finding the move to 10 and 11 so smooth, they’re excited about the new cadence and what’s coming down the pike.

Source: Oracle’s Georges Saab on the Impact of Faster Java Releases

Link: Dirty Little Secrets of your System Integrator: Why Companies Still Go Over Budget

File under:

1) Enterprise computering considered difficult.
2) Be careful what wish-contract for.
3) Agility is expensive if your budget cycle is on years.
4) Maybe hire your own people?

Source: Dirty Little Secrets of your System Integrator: Why Companies Still Go Over Budget

Link: Exploring the “Unknown Unknowns” in IT-enabled Digital Transformation Estimates

These low-ball estimates are sometimes provided by consultants working to get their foot in the door, or by executive sponsors working to gain approval for their programs. Excluding low-ball estimates, the primary cause of poor estimates tends to be a lack of experience and background of the leader.

Source: Exploring the “Unknown Unknowns” in IT-enabled Digital Transformation Estimates

Link: Instagram Is Changing How You Shop

When you browse select posts from those brands, you’ll now see a blue “Checkout on Instagram” call-to-action. Click it, and you can select your size, color, billing and shipping details. Instagram will take an undisclosed cut of sales.

Makes a whole lotta sense:

For fashion brands in particular, Instagram shopping adoption has jumped from 12% to 42% year-on-year, proving that the industry is ready to leap at the opportunity to link content and commerce. It’s not just lower price points that are getting in on the action, with adoption rising to 25% among high-end prestige price-point brands. Notably, Louis Vuitton was one of the first fashion brands to leverage shoppable stories during the World Cup in 2018.

Source: Instagram Is Changing How You Shop

Link: Oracle swings axe on cloud infrastructure corps amid possible bloodbath at Big Red

These US-based layoffs are part of a broad round of job cuts around the globe this month, said to range from 500 to 14,000 at the database giant. The biz employs about 140,000 worldwide.

All the articles say it’s in the cloud business.

Source: Oracle swings axe on cloud infrastructure corps amid possible bloodbath at Big Red

Link: lots of capital, little control

With all the money sloshing around looking to find a home, startup funding might be a bit of a sellers market:

Venture capitalists are now relatively less in the business of choosing the best startups in which to invest, and relatively more in the business of getting the best startups to choose them as investors. Money is plentiful and good startups are relatively (relatively!) scarce, and so the startups can be picky. And venture capitalists are increasingly doing public relations to try to become famous, so that the startups that will become famous will choose them as investors. “Some firms are realizing, ‘Huh, maybe awareness doesn’t just magically grow on trees,’” says the founder of a public relations firm.

And once startups are public, investors get little control:

So here too the founders seem to have the power and the people writing the checks don’t. In private markets, investors have to demonstrate their merit to be allowed to invest. In public markets, anyone can invest, but they don’t really get any control over the company. Capital is plentiful, and the people with the companies just don’t have to do that much to cater to the people with the capital. I suppose it makes sense so many unicorns are, in Griffith’s words, “a financial sinkhole”: If you don’t have to be too solicitous of the people with the money, you might as well spend a lot of it.

Source: The Unicorns Are in Charge Now

Apple iOS 12.2, Apple News+, Apple Card

Screen Time is pretty good, but can always use more. It has that very Apple feature cycle where you expect more easy release, but they tend to keep it overly simple. The second item below should be good:

Screen Time
– Downtime can be configured with a different schedule for each day of the week
– A new toggle enables easily turning app limits on or off temporarily

And a review of Apple News+:

Currently, magazines offered by the service are a mix of rich, responsive content based on Apple News Format and fixed, high-resolution “scans” that behave like pages of a PDF document. I was happy to see that the majority of magazines I’m interested in such as Wired, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorkerhave been built with Apple News Format, which brings a host of advantages: layouts are richer (with animated elements, swipable galleries, and more), text can be resized, and each issue offers a Table of Contents that lets you jump directly to a specific story or section of the magazine.

And then the Apple Card, mostly from a competitive angle:

…and Apple just took on a bevy of competitors including the following:

following: 

  • Capital One and other credit card issuers such as American Express, Bank of America, and Citibank. 

  • In a blog post, MasterCard highlighted its involvement with Apple’s digital first card. Apple is using MasterCard’s token services and M Chip technologies. 

  • Banks that have built in personal finance apps and rely on credit cards for margin.

  • Apps like Intuit’s Mint. 

  • Payment apps like PayPal and Venmo that have an app presence but not a physical one. PayPal also issues its own credit and debit cards with Synchrony Bank as the issuing bank. 

  • An architecture and financial setup that makes Apple Card as compelling as a rewards program. Customers get three percent Daily Cash on all purchase made with Apple; Two percent with Apple Card and Apple Pay usage and one percent with the physical card; and one percent with the titanium Apple Card. 

And: “Apple Card will be available this summer.

So, add Apple to the FUD list on your opening, vendor pitch slide, esp. for banks. “What will they do next?” your slide will imply, “stealing your customers, making you just a backend, at best.”

Then, some analysis from the financial analysts at Keybanc:

Apple’s services efforts appear less compelling the further away from user lock-in they go. Apple began its presentation by showing the definition of services: “the action of helping or doing work for someone,” an insinuation that its services business is an act of kindness bestowed upon the Company’s users and content partners. The irony in this is that Apple’s Services segment generates the vast majority of its profit in areas where Apple faces no competition or has a massive advantage due to user lock-in. In other words, its success in Services to date appears to be more a result of leverage over user control than a result of kindness or service to its ecosystem participants. The services announced today ventured beyond the walled garden of iPhone-linked services into markets with more-established competition. In these areas, we believe Apple’s rate of success and profitability are likely to decline vs. its current lineup of services.

They’re not too hot on Apple Pay being a big deal:

The ability of Apple to transition from a mobile phone maker to a trusted and highly engaged financial service offering remains an open question, yet we applaud innovative efforts and see the greatest disruption occurring on the issuer side of the equation with the non-traditional pick of Goldman. The choice of Mastercard and rewards construct largely follows industry standards and showcases the power of the traditional payment processing value chain (e.g. V, MA). The decision to omit a card number and thus encourage Apple Pay usage online is interesting, but is unlikely to be a needle-mover within the e- commerce landscape (e.g., PYPL). A rewards structure linked to Apple Pay Cash is interesting but is likely to yield relatively small payment volumes and we see limited demographic overlap with Venmo or Square Cash (e.g., PYPL, SQ).

Link: The Fast and Slow of Design

On the top layer there is rapid change. On the bottom, change happens at a glacial pace. It’s this combination of everything, from seconds at the top, to millennia at the bottom, that give resilience to the system.

And:

A key concept to this is that each layer has to respect the pace of another.

Source: The Fast and Slow of Design

Link: One Simple Way to Eliminate Distractions in a Board Meeting

The best board meetings are discussions and debates about the business yet many executive teams spent their time wanting to walk through hours of slides on how great they’re doing. Humans do much better when they’re participating than when they’re being lectured to. The most value you’ll get out of your board is when they’re speaking and offering you feedback and experiences from others companies in which they’re involved.

I recommend that executive teams send materials out 72 hours in advance. I recommend that CEOs do 1–1 calls with board members prior to the meeting to walk through the high-level financials. And I recommend that boards have 2–3 strategic topics that they consider during the in-person meeting. If you run your board this way you’ll maximize the time you have together as a group and keep your board engaged.

This need to “pre-sure” is super annoying – what’s the point of the meeting then? – but key to any meeting. The, point though, is to use the meeting to discuss and decide, not to just be informed.

Also:

Final bit of advice. Some teams print out materials and hand out a printed binder during the board meeting. Don’t be this team. While it’s tempting to have a bible for your board members you’ll just enable them to “scroll ahead” and look at future slides when they’re bored. If you serve up their distraction then you only have yourselves to blame when they don’t pay attention.

Sometimes board members print out your decks or financials in advance and bring their own print outs. It’s super easy to politely say, “If you wouldn’t mind I’d love it if you would leave your notes in your bag. I don’t want to be controversial but I would love to try and have everybody fully engaged in the discussion and to do so I want to make sure everybody is on the same page at the same time.

It takes some bravery to tell your bosses (the board) what to do, to be more professional and polite. The results are probably enjoyable by both sides of the table, though.

Source: One Simple Way to Eliminate Distractions in a Board Meeting

Link: Are security concerns over Huawei a boon for its European rivals?

 

Between 2015 and 2018 Huawei’s share rose from 24% to 28%; Nokia’s dipped from 20% to 17% and Ericsson’s from 15% to 13%. An escalation in the war on Huawei might prompt Beijing to retaliate by kicking Western firms out of China.

That would be a blow to the Nordic duo. China accounted for 10% of Ericsson’s 211bn krona ($24.2bn) in global sales last year. The company runs two research and development sites in China. Nokia derives a similar share of revenues from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Extra sales in Europe in the event of a Huawei ban would not offset losses in China, argues Pierre Ferragu of New Street Research, not least because the Chinese will launch 5g a year or two earlier.

More important, worries Börje Ekholm, chief executive of Ericsson, a ban on Huawei would slow down the launch of 5g in Europe

 

Source: Are security concerns over Huawei a boon for its European rivals?

Containers are mostly just for large enterprises

Here, you see a shift in intentions to use containers, a pretty large one: less people are planning to use them. To me, containers are mostly useful for custom written software, not business application workloads.

So, several years ago, containers seemed like a cheaper VMware strategy where you just generically throw your apps in and reduce costs.

But, that doesn’t really work. Apps have to be container friendly, plus, you know, you have to manage your new container orchestration thing – figure out kubernetes. Even that has only been a thing (an option a generic IT team would know about and find viable enough to consider) for about the past year.

(I mean, maybe, if you soften the idea that kubernetes is a platform for building platforms and just think of it as a platform for running apps, that is, a platform. I don’t know what the fuck is going on in that definitional-wrangling space.)

These companies, I’d theorize, then, had the wrong assumptions, investigated container usage, and realized it wasn’t what they were expecting.

Containers are for running custom written software. If you don’t want to do that, they’re probably not useful to you.

As an important side-note, let’s assume use here means penetration, which is to say, respondents use at least one, or as few as, container. That means overall usage could be a tiny percentage of their total workloads – or big. We have no way of know how many containers they use. Not a big deal if you’re interested, as here, in y/y trends, that is, growth. That’s what investors want to see.

Equally important and enlightening here, as always, is to look at the demographics:

I don’t know what the the n is, the total number of respondents. There’s a good chunk that of what I’d fall “enterprise”: 10,000+ employees, and lots from finance. Let’s say around half? Spending wise, education usually doesn’t spend much (or write that much custom software?), and “Technology” typically less. Tech companies usually don’t buy shit and DIY it choosing to spend on their own people instead of vendors – they are, after all, technology companies, they think.

Also, it’s worth weighting this all by how few insurance and retail companies are in the respondent base: they have tons of custom written software, the stuff you’d put in containers.

So, you’ve really got two very different surveys and conclusions going on here, split by two different markets: those who write and run their own software (mostly large organizations) and those who don’t (mostly smaller organizations).

You see the general conclusion in the footnote: 10,000+ people companies (who have a good chance of writing and running their own software) already use containers and plan on using more.

Anyhow, half of respondents are small and mid-sized companies, plus those tech companies that don’t spend. So, spending wise, selling containers is probably mostly a large enterprise play cause that’s where they get used and paid for. They rest of the companies, likely, want SaaS and security.

Check out the rest of the report. It covers much, much more that the container neck of the woods.

Assume that rivals will exercise their options

If you give someone an option, even if it seems like one you don’t want, assume the worst and act/protect yourself accordingly:

In the Rent-A-Center deal, there was actually a lot of work to do, and it distracted Vintage from the extension deadline. In the Van Halen deal, there wasn’t particularly, so Monk cleverly created a lot of work to distract them, and it (apparently) worked. One lesson here is, keep a checklist of your deadlines. Another lesson might be, just because you have a deal with someone and you are working hard together to achieve some goal, don’t just blindly assume that you are partners and your interests are aligned: Think about what the other person’s interests actually are, and keep in mind what your contract actually requires.

A third lesson might be, it is common in finance and economics to assume optimal exercise of options: If someone has the right to do something, and it is in her clear economic interest to do it, that is assumed to be equivalent to “she will do it.” That is a good enough assumption for most cases, but in the real world, sometimes people just forget.

Link: BMC Touches Clouds with Job Scheduler

The new support for cloud platform as a service (PaaS) functions — including Lambda, step functions, and batch on AWS and logic apps and functions on Azure — gives organizations the capability to orchestrate workflows on the cloud. But, importantly, it also allows customers to integrate these cloud functions with applications running in private clouds and hybrid architectures, the company says.

Source: BMC Touches Clouds with Job Scheduler

Link: Elizabeth Holmes and her firm Theranos show why we must stop fetishising entrepreneurs

As well as capturing enduring gender anxieties, the Theranos story is also a reflection of the technological zeitgeist. Gibney believes Holmes was so successful because of Silicon Valley’s “fetishisation of the entrepreneur”. Holmes’s entire persona, after all, seems to have been an exercise in myth-making. She dropped out of college, like Mark Zuckerberg. She borrowed Steve Jobs’s trademark black turtleneck and bizarre eating habits. She faked a deep baritone to make herself more authoritative. If you were to come up with a piece of performance art reflecting our expectations of “tech geniuses”, you could not have done a better job than Holmes. What an incredibly scary thought.

Source: Elizabeth Holmes and her firm Theranos show why we must stop fetishising entrepreneurs

Link: Europe and America must work to stop their relationship unravelling

Yet, through its many ups and downs, the relationship has proved resilient. Trade flows between the eu and the United States remain the world’s biggest, worth more than $3bn a day. Shared democratic values, though wobbly in places, are a force for freedom. And, underpinning everything, the alliance provides stability in the face of a variety of threats, from terrorism to an aggressive Russia, that have given the alliance a new salience.

At the heart of this security partnership is nato. By reaching its 70th birthday the alliance stands out as a survivor—in the past five centuries the average lifespan for collective-defence alliances is just 15 years. Even as European leaders wonder how long they can rely on America, the relationship on the ground is thriving. As our special report this week explains, this is thanks to nato’s ability to change. No one imagined that the alliance’s Article 5 mutual-defence pledge would be invoked for the first, and so far only, time in response to a terrorist attack on America, in September 2001, or that Estonians, Latvians and Poles would be among nato members to suffer casualties in Afghanistan. Since 2014 the allies have responded vigorously to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine. They have increased defence spending, moved multinational battlegroups into the Baltic states and Poland, set ambitious targets for military readiness and conducted their biggest exercises since the cold war.

Source: Europe and America must work to stop their relationship unravelling

Link: People read books for different reasons, beyond entertainment & learning

One thing I’ve learned, writing books and then talking to people about those books and others, is that people read for wildly different reasons. I don’t only mean they read different books for different reasons – “I like mysteries, because they keep my brain occupied”; “I like fantasy novels, because they offer me a world that is fundamentally ordered and legible” – but also that they read the same books for different reasons. Wildly different. I mean sure, there is always the shared foundation of processing sentences on the page, rendering them into a kind of waking dream; but beyond that, there is sometimes zero overlap between the objectives and pleasures of different kinds of readers. The more I’ve been convinced of that, the more I’ve come to love it. It’s weird and challenging and exciting.

Source: ☄️ Week 12, elf sweep loop texture build piano east content Yanni