Sunday, October 12, 2014

(The Big Disrupt) Cloud Computing: The New World Up In The Cloud

The Big disrupt exists for the sole of exploring new disruptive technologies and companies shaking things up in business and culture and no technology in recent years has shaken things up as much as cloud computing or better known as the cloud.

The main benefit the cloud lends to organizations big or small is agility and thus the ability to respond quickly to the needs of customers. The agility the clous lends also a major driver to its adoption as organizations everywhere as the phrase “adapt of die” is not just snappy saying you’ll find on a bumper sticker but the organizing principle of modern business.

The cloud has had many implications for business because of the agility it offers organizations but this has had a serious impact on the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). The advent of the cloud has transformed IT from a traditional maintenance cost centre and even a potential obstacle to progress to one of the key drivers of innovation and even future growth in a number of organizations.

The change in mentality among CIO’s in light of advent of the cloud has IT has CIO’s looking at adding value the business illustrated by a 2012 poll of CIO’s that recorded a substantial focus among CIO’s on revenue growth as “81 percent of respondents see revenue growth as a crucial priority” alongside  customer facing priorities such as “Customer satisfaction (78 percent), improving product capabilities (69 percent), cost cutting (65 percent) and the ability to innovate for competitive advantage (57 percent)[1].

This more business focused approach to IT among CIO’s encouraged by the onset of the cloud has had CIO’s looking for ways to add value to organizations as while the cloud has given, by default, greater responsibility over how organizations operate, this has led to leaders in organizations to openly question the value their IT departments actually brought to the business. This public audit of the CIO in relation to other executives in the C-suite, particularly the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), has forced CIO’s to take a greater interest in the business side of the organizations they serve as the growth of importance of CMO’s as well as the increasingly data driven nature of the role has led to predictions of IT departments to see cuts in their budgets as “organizations move maintenance-intensive tasks into the cloud”[2].

This new reality confronting the CIO provides a great opportunity for CIO’s to maximize their importance to their respective organizations but in doing so this makes them more accountable than ever before and with such accountability the role of the IT leader in an organization becomes more precarious as NetApp CEO Tom Georgens observed ““The opportunity for CIOs to differentiate and provide competitive advantage for the firm might be greater than it's ever been. However, the risks associated with being a CIO are also greater than they've ever been."”[3].

However, while most CIO’s have embraced their new role in the advent of the cloud, the actual department he or she runs might have different ideas. Martin Ogden, CIO of Expro Group, came up against this apprehension among his department as he received pushback when introducing a cloud based HR tool designed to manage the company’s growing number of employees across the globe.

While Ogden was keen to play up the benefits of the tool to the organization and sees as a glaring opportunity for his department to add value, his department was clearly concerned that the tool was “ the project was largely delivered by HR, rather than IT”[4]. However their concern was largely peaked by Ogden’s and clearly Expro Group’s intention to move more processes into the cloud, However. Their concern for their jobs didn’t seem to bother Ogden who saw it as a opportunity for “those reasonably well paid, highly skilled members of staff and actually get them to do something useful for the organisation.”[5].

In that one sentence above revealed not only the apprehension IT departments have towards the cloud but the rather snide attitude the new breed of CIO has towards his own department reminiscent of Alec Baldwin’s classic “always be closing “ speech in the expletive heavy screen adaptation of playwright David Mamet’s masterpiece Glengarry Glen Ross.

Why CIO’s like Ogden would have such an attitude towards his own departments makes no sense given the advent of the cloud and its commercial availability allows other departments to bypass the CIO and complicate his role in the organization at the same time as increasingly other executives in the C-suite now have their own IT spend.

What’s also strange about the CIO poking at the futility of his department is that the arguments that IT or the CIO is becoming is a very stupid argument in an gage where just about every business is a technology whether they like it or not. In this new reality where the arbitrary line between technology and business begins to blur, the CIO is arguably going to be one of the most important roles in any business going away as doing business in the modern world, for better or worse, has become technical question as much as an economic one.

In sum, the advent of the cloud has shaken up the C-suite and the CIO in particular but the cloud in doing this has only revealed a simple but telling truth about the business world, there isn’t much of a dividing line between tech and business and in the future, no one will able to tell the difference.    

[2] Ibid
[5] Ibid

(TV) The Walking Dead: TWD NY Comic Com 2014 Panel

Check out The Walking Dead producers and principal cast talk about Season 5 of the AMC ratings monster.

(Note to the Reader) The Walking Dead: TWD Reviews Starting Tomorrow !!!!

The hit AMC show begins its fifth season tonight and we're going to review every episode and track the fate of Rick and co in a season, going off the badass trailers released by AMC in recent weeks,  could be the best season in the show's run as for once, the group are not in control and are in mortal danger as the shows proves again and again that in a world full of mindless and soulless zombified killing machines, humans are still the number one threat.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

(TV) Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Episode 2 ''Toil and Till'' TV Trailer

Check the latest trailer for the next of installment of the brilliant hit FX series Sons of Anarchy.

(Books) Joel Hames: The Carnage Report One On One With Author Of Banker's Town

What made you want to be a writer?

Who wouldn’t want to be a writer? I’d always loved books and respected the people who created them, it was just a matter of opportunity. But when I had the time to write, I was too busy enjoying myself, and then work got in the way, and I ended up becoming a lawyer, and then a banker, and the idea of being anything I really wanted to be (other than a husband and father, of course) just faded away.

But then I gave up banking, and relocated to a spot about as far away as you can get from a major financial centre in England, with no viable Plan B, and my wife reminded me how I’d told her so many times, in years gone by, that I wanted to be a writer. And that was it.
Did you have any literary influences growing up?

Not really. I just loved books, pretty much any book, they were all good. Even an Oxford English degree didn’t really influence the way I went on to write. I might admire the craft or the beauty or the sense of the astonishing works I was reading, but it stayed outside, at a distance, something brilliant but ultimately alien.

But once I decided to write, I couldn't keep it out. Every great book, every glorious passage, I find myself dissecting them all, trying to work out the how and why, like Frankenstein with a few bundles of literary flesh. And there’s no reason in it, no decision to focus on books that relate, stylistically or thematically, to whatever it is I’m working on. So now everything I write has echoes of what I happen to be reading at the time, and it’s only in the never-ending redrafts that the inconsistencies between Chapter One’s A la Recherche du Temps Perdu and Chapter Twenty’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows get ironed out.

How much of Bankers Town, your latest release, is based on your background as a former banker?

The nature of the work, putting together complex debt capital markets deals, that’s all pretty much true. The people – well, a number of them are drawn on my ex-colleagues, generally exaggerated because (much as no one wants to believe it) bankers tend to be as normal as anyone else, and thus not the greatest material for a novel. The fraud is absolutely and completely made up – all the fraud (apart from LIBOR, which I knew nothing about at the time your honour and so help me that’s the truth).

Some of the deals are based (very loosely) on real, actual deals. Most of the steps within the deals did actually happen, at one point or another. The delicately-poised relationships between different groups and individuals within and outside the bank, the day-to-day business of putting these deals together, the idea that they’re basically a gigantic Jenga puzzle made out of compromises and half-truths, and that at any moment a rating agency or tax advisor or lawyer or investor or another bank or lender or swap counterparty or your client could whip a piece out, just like that, and a year’s worth of work could collapse round your ears, that’s real enough, that happened more times than I care to remember.

The notion that it was all a game, that what we were doing existed in its own abstract world and had no impact on the “real economy” – and accordingly, the ease with which a banker could abdicate responsibility for that economy and ultimately for everything he did – there’s an element of truth in that. I’d like to think that’s all changed, now, although I’m not sure the Treasury Select Committee would agree.

The camaraderie of the early years at the bank is real enough, unless it’s just time and distance putting a pretty gloss on it. And the post-financial-crisis feeling of a slow, inevitable descent into a place where things weren’t going to be at all nice, I’ve tried to capture that, to the extent I could, in the book.

Being a former banker, what was the best and worst thing about being a banker?

The best thing, undoubtedly, was the buzz of walking into a pitch wondering how the hell you’re going to sell your deal without boring the brains out of the people on the other side of the table, and getting questions you never imagined thrown at you, and then finding (to your delighted astonishment) that not only can you throw the answers right back at them, but that they’re the right answers, and even better, they’re the answers everyone wants to hear, and walking back out thinking the only way you’re not going to win this deal is if someone else is actually paying for the privilege of doing it.

The worst thing is working like hell on a deal for months of long days and nights and weekends and then finding at the last minute that it’s not your deal after all because someone else has actually paid for the privilege of doing it.

In your blog “The Economics of Banking”, you mentioned the lack of knowledge about economics among your former colleagues; do you think a greater knowledge of the field would have helped avert during the crisis?

I can only really speak for myself here, although I suspect many senior bankers in London are in a similar state of ignorance about the role they’re really playing in the world.

But it’s interesting that while I was putting deals together I’d have a view on the effect my deal would have on the bank, the investors, the client, and the client’s employees and customers and other lenders, and that was about as far as it went. It wasn’t until after I sat down to think about what had gone wrong in 2007 onward, and write Bankers Town, that I started to look outside this circle to the lenders of the lenders of the lenders, and their other borrowers, and their other lenders, and realise that (if I can use an example from the book), a surf-board boom and bust in Sydney can kill a spark-plugs factory in the Midlands as easily as a footballer can crash a Ferrari.

If everyone had studied economics, would that have occurred to them? And would it have occurred to enough of them to have made a difference? It’s just one thing, really, correlation, interconnectedness, call it what you will, the butterfly-wing effect. In reality, I’m not sure it would have made a difference. And I’m not sure it even would now, because for all the increased capital cushions and Basle III and clampdowns on bonuses, the next crash is only a matter of time. When it comes to money, humans are (as I’ve pointed out repeatedly in my blog), dumber than dogs. Once bitten, twice bitten, three times bitten, it doesn’t matter. It won’t stop us getting bitten again.

Everybody can name their favourite book to read, can you name your worst?

I’ll stick to the dead, and go with Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, a book that prioritises the quality of the prose over character and plot to such an extent that it ends up looking like a long, tremendously dull poem in badly-formatted blank verse. If you’ve never read it, don’t bother.

Much has been said about the self-publishing phenomenon, what’s your take?

As someone who benefits from it simply by virtue of being available to readers, I’m an unqualified fan. There were never enough agents or publishers to read everything out there anyway – I remember a brief job I had at a publishing house, straight out of university, flicking through hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts sent over the last couple of years to the ignominious fate of being judged by someone who had not the faintest idea of what a commercially-successful modern novel should look like. So much effort, so much talent, all consigned to the reject pile by someone who wouldn’t have known Donna Tartt from a Bakewell Tart/ Julian Barnes from Julian Clary.

Now, finally, there’s an outlet for it. Sure, there’s a lot of dross out there too, but it’s not that hard to spot. The difficulty (as a reader) is distinguishing the excellent from the merely very good. And the satisfaction of taking a plunge, risking a few quid and a little of your time, and discovering something really good, a pleasure formerly reserved for agents and publishers, is now available to all.

What the best and worst thing about being a self-published writer?

The best: being able to publish at all, and see your sales mounting up and your reviews suddenly appearing, and being, to all intents and purposes, a real writer.
The worst is having to do all your own marketing and not having the faintest idea how to do it without doing what everyone else is doing anyway.

How much of your time is dedicated to marketing as opposed to writing?

About half, now, which I was warned about online before I published, and didn’t believe, and look at me now. Some of it’s quite fun, I kind of enjoy coming up with “witty”, topical tweets, and for the last couple of months I’ve been working with a local film production company on a trailer for Bankers Town that’s going to be, if I say so myself, absolute YouTube dynamite.

Do you have projects in the work or new releases share with our readers?

Yes. There are always ideas boiling over, and a couple of books I’ve already written that I fully intend to hammer into shape for publication one of these days, but the book I’m working on at the moment is more of a straight conspiracy thriller. It opens with a riot at a prison, an armed convict who doesn’t exist, and a wheeler-dealer lawyer who’s telling the truth for once in his life, but can’t get anyone to believe him. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first draft, so with luck I’ll have the whole thing ready for publication by the end of the year.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers. 

Connect with Joe on Twitter @Joel_Hames and pay a visit to Get your copy of Banker's Town on Amazon here and here.


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